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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Be Fire Safe With Food

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging care in the kitchen with several cooking related 'celebrations' taking place in February.

Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day fall on February 14th, National Chip Week starts on the 15th and Pancake Day is on the 16th. Traditionally, the annual events encourage more cooking.

"Research tells us more than half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents."

Ian Sloss, Head of Risk Reduction

Statistics reveal the county has suffered at least 300 dwelling kitchen fires every year since 2005. Since April last year the Service has been called out to 324 kitchen fires while in the last five years the total number of kitchen fires across the county is 1,614.

Ian Sloss, Head of Risk Reduction, wants people to exercise caution at the stove.

"We want people to enjoy their celebrations but, more than that, we want them to enjoy them safely," said Ian.

"Research tells us more than half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents.

"It is quite common for people to be tucking into their meals, forgetting they have left their frying pans burning away on the cooker.

"When making pancakes, Chinese food or something romantic for Valentine’s Day, the novelty and excitement of preparing such food means fire safety may not be at the forefront of your mind.

"People often make the mistake make of leaving pans unattended when the heat is switched on.

"If this does happen to you and a pan catches fire, switch off the heat, if it is safe to do so. Then get out, closing the door behind you and call 999.”

And with National Chip Week running until Sunday, February 21st, Ian is keen to ‘Ban The Pan’ – if only for seven days!

"Chip pans can cause serious fires because they can very quickly overheat and then ignite," he said.

"We attend numerous fires caused by people putting their chip pans on and then falling asleep or getting distracted by a phone call or someone at the door.

"We would urge people to use oven chips or deep fat fryers instead. Deep fat fryers are much safer because they are thermostatically controlled which means they can’t overheat."

People who cook chips in a traditional chip pan, are advised to follow these Staffordshire Fire and Rescue fire safety tips - not just during National Chip Week but all year round!

• Don’t overfill a chip pan with oil – never fill it more than one-third full.

• Don’t use your chip pan after drinking alcohol.

• Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and dial 999.

• Never throw water on a chip pan fire.

• In the event of a fire, have an escape route in place.