London Fire Brigade

Firefighters give chip safety advice

15 February 2010

London’s firefighters are using this year’s National Chip Week as an opportunity to warn people of the dangers of chip pans and traditional fat fryers.

Andy Hickmott, London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Community Safety said: “People need to exercise extreme caution when using chip pans and fat fryers. The hot fat can easily catch fire, especially if you leave the pan unattended. A safer option would be to have oven chips or get a takeaway”.

The Brigade has issued new statistics which show that chip pans still cause hundreds of fires across London each year. The figures, taken from the last five years, show that:

• Around 2500 accidental fires in Londoners’ homes were caused by chip pans.
• 12% of injuries sustained in accidental fires in the home are caused by chip pans.
• Around 70% of accidental home fires begin in the kitchen.
• Around 70% of people who are injured in fires in the home are injured by fires that start in the kitchen.
• 16% of people who die in accidental home fires, die as a result of kitchen fires.

Andy Hickmott went on to say: “As these figures show – chip pans can be lethal so if you do use one you need to be really careful. Hundreds of people in London have suffered damage to their homes, injuries and sadly some have even died as a result of chip pan fires”.

The Brigade is also using Chip Week to highlight the importance of smoke alarms. Andy Hickmott said: “You are more than twice as likely to die in a fire at home if you haven't got a smoke alarm. Smoke alarms alert you to the danger of fire, giving you precious time to escape. They are cheap as chips, easy to get hold of and easy to fit”.

As part of the campaign to highlight the dangers of chip pans, the Brigade has launched a new YouTube video – Diary of a Firefighter. In his video diary, firefighter Ben Yong, from Kensington fire station, talks about the fire dangers associated with chip pans. You can view Ben’s diary by clicking here.

The Brigade offers the following chip pan safety advice:

• Think about replacing your chip pan with an electric fryer – they are safer to use.
• If you have to use a chip pan never fill it more than a third full with oil or fat.
• Don’t use your chip pan if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
• Never leave the pan unattended with the heat on – not even for a few seconds.
• Never put the chips in the pan if the oil has started smoking. Turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool down, or else it could catch fire.

If your does pan catch fire:

• Don't panic and don’t take risks.
• Don't move the pan.
• Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on a hot fat fire.
• If it's safe to do so - turn off the heat, but never lean over the pan to reach the controls.
• Leave the kitchen, close the door behind you, tell everyone else in the home to get out and don’t go back inside for any reason. Call 999

Notes to editors
For more home fire safety advice, please visit www.london-fire.gov.uk/yoursafety.asp

For more information, please contact the Brigade’s press office on 020 8536 5922
or emma.cullen@london-fire.gov.uk

National Chip Week runs from 15th-21st February 2010.