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The London Fire Brigade today released new figures showing a rise in the number of chip pan fires in the capital. The Brigade believes the rise could be down to the current trend for gourmet chips, such as those that are triple cooked.
The figures, which have been released during Chip Week, show that the number of chip pan fires rose by 14 per cent between 2012-2013, with 2013 seeing the highest number of chip pan fires over the five year period. Chip pan fires buck the trend, as fires overall have fallen by 25 per cent over the past year.
The figures also show that in London in the last five years:
• There were 1,754 chip pan fires
• Over 500 people were injured
• Three people lost their lives
• The injury rate is high, with almost three out of ten of these fires resulting in injury, or even death
The Brigade’s Third Officer, Dave Brown, said:
“Many people think that chip pans are a thing of the past, but there’s been a recent rise in celebrities like Heston Blumenthal endorsing posh chips on TV cooking programmes.
“Chip pans and cooking with hot oil can be really dangerous and the risk increases when you start frying food more than once, as is the current trend with chips. All it can take is for you to become distracted for a few seconds and your cooking oil can quickly go up in flames.”
The Potato Council are also encouraging people to stay safe by visiting their local chip shop, which is in line with the Brigade’s advice to avoid using chip pans at home.
A spokesman said:
“Chips are a great British tradition and great value for money. For those who take a trip to the chippy, there’s a chance to win a healthy fryer. Simply take a selfie outside your favourite shop or British landmark, and Tweet us using #ChipnPin”
The Brigade will also be using social media to remind people to stay safe during Chip Week. It will be sharing top chip safety tips and will be asking people to send in photos of themselves with their chip suppers.
The Brigade said that oven chips are also a safer alternative to those that have been deep-fried.
The Brigade’s chip safety advice is as follows:
• Oven chips, or even better a trip to the chippy, are safer alternatives to chip pans
• If you’re cooking with hot oil, keep a close eye on it at all times
• Frying and alcohol are a bad combination as your concentration won’t be as sharp and you could fall asleep, accidentally leaving the pan on
If the worst happens and your pan does catch fire:
• Don't move the pan.
• Never put water into a flaming chip pan – you’ll create a huge fire ball.
• If it's safe to do so - turn off the heat.
• Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999.
You can find more kitchen safety advice on the Brigade’s website http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/SafetyInTheKitchen.asp
Chip Week runs from 17th-23rd February and is run by the Potato Council – more here: http://chips.lovepotatoes.co.uk/
Social media and chips