Fresh warning over chip pan fires

Fifteen years after UTV's Ban the Pan campaign, the Fire Service is warning that chip pans are still a danger in the home.

Published 20/02/2013 12:00

This is National Chip Week and although many people here have ditched their old-fashioned chip pan, they are still among the most common causes of house fires.

An over-heated pan can quickly burst into flames and attempts to put out the fire can lead to serious burns.

But despite the warnings, chip pans remain a major problem and the Fire Service is calling for people to switch to a pan which thermostatically controls the temperature of the oil.

For those who do continue to use traditional chip pans, Eamon Gallagher from the Fire and Rescue Service has some tips that could help save lives.

"You don't fill your chip pan more than a third full, never leave it unattended, don't be getting yourself distracted when cooking, and - if something does happen - you get yourself out and get ourselves out," he advised.

Chip and grill pans caused more than 120 accidental fires last year, which Northern Ireland firefighters were called out to extinguish.

For anyone who fancies a plate of chips after they have been at the pub, Mr Gallagher has further guidance.

"If you're under the influence of alcohol at all, you should purchase your chips on the way home rather than coming home and trying to cook something - because there's more of a tendency to fall asleep and leave a chip pan unattended," he added.

Firefighters also advise that, if the food in the pan starts to give off smoke, it is important to turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool.

If the chip pan does catch fire, the Fire and Rescue Service say not to move it - instead, turn off the heat, if it is safe to do so, and remember that water will not put out an oil or fat fire.

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