This week is the 21st annual ‘National Chip Week’ and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) would like everyone to enjoy their chips, but they also warn that across Scotland, 600 people were injured in around 3,000 cooking related house fires in 2012-13. Over the past four years, 60 per cent of all accidental house fires have involved cooking.
Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, Director of Prevention and Protection, said:-“More fires start in the kitchen than in any other room in the house and with three billion meals per year containing chips within the UK, it is clear that they still remain a national favourite. However cooking chips can involve a significant fire risk.
“It is so easy to get distracted while cooking. The doorbell can go, the phone may ring, children can distract us, or we leave the room to do other chores while food is cooking. A significant number of cooking related fires start when people are under the influence of alcohol, start to cook something and then fall asleep on the sofa.
“You can join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire and significantly reduce that risk by taking a few simple steps. Make sure you have working smoke alarms. Consider fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen. Heat alarms are specially designed to quickly detect cooking fires while avoiding false alarms caused by cooking. In the event of fire, a smoke or heat alarm will alert you and give you time to react safely and sensibly. It could save your life.”
During ‘National Chip Week’ enjoy your chips safely. In addition to smoke and heat alarms, the following simple steps will help protect everyone in your home:
Use a thermostat controlled deep fat fryer
The best way to avoid having a chip pan fire is to use a thermostat controlled, electric deep fat fryer instead. The safety cut out (thermostat) controls the temperature of the fat or oil. You can even win one on Chip Week’s website (http://www.chips.lovepotatoes.co.uk/chip-n-pin). Oven chips are another safer alternative to using chip pans.
Visit a chip shop at the end of a night out
Chips are a traditional treat at the end of a night out. If you do want chips, buy them on the way home rather than attempting to cook when you get home.
Don’t cook whilst under the influence of alcohol
Cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol is a recipe for disaster. If you’re tired, have been drinking, or taking drugs, don’t cook. You will be less alert to the signs of fire, and more likely to fall asleep.
Book a FREE home fire safety visit
If you, or someone you know, is at risk from fire, we offer free Home Fire Safety Visits 7 days a week at a time that suits you. We’ll fit smoke alarms free of charge if your home requires them. Booking a visit is easy:
Call 0800 0731 999
Text ‘fire’ to 61611
If you must cook chips in a traditional chip pan you should follow these additional fire safety tips – not just during National Chip Week but all year round.
- Turn the pan handle to the side so that fat or oil doesn’t get spilled by accident
- Never fill the pan more than one-third full of fat or oil
- Make sure chips are dry before putting them into hot fat or oil
- Never walk away when the pan’s on the heat
A wide range of tips on how to keep yourself and your home safe from fire are available on the SFRS website:www.firescotland.gov.uk
Photo courtesy of The Edinburgh Reporter.