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Using a chip pan could be a recipe for disaster

March 25 2019

This week is the final week of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s #RecipeForDisaster campaign and highlights the dangers of using chip pans.

If you need to deep fry things then get a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer; they’re much safer.

Director of Prevent and Protect Glynn Luznyj

Although the use of chip pans has declined over the years, they are still a major cause of burns in the kitchen. Cooking fires make up more than 25 per cent of accidental dwelling fires across the county making it the most common cause of blazes in the home. 

Director of Prevent and Protect Glynn Luznyj said: “Chip pans are so dangerous that we urge people not to use them, if possible. The problem with chip pans is, to deep fry something, you have to pour a large quantity of oil into the pan and heat it so that it gets really hot. Heating oil is dangerous and if you don’t keep your eye on what you’re doing, before you know it, the oil will have caught fire. 

“If your chip pan does catch fire, putting it out can be hazardous, too. Instinctively, we reach for water to put out a fire. If it’s a chip pan fire then pouring water on it would be disastrous. When water comes into contact with hot oil in small quantities, it causes the oil to spit; in the quantity you’d probably reach for to put out a fire it produces a reaction which is similar to a fireball. Chip pan fires are the type that needs to be smothered. Also, picking up the pan and trying to take it outside will put you at risk of the flames blowing back at you. We’d much rather you used oven chips or bought a portion of chips from the chippy, instead. If you need to deep fry things then get a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer; they’re much safer. 

“If you must use a traditional chip pan, please follow these fire safety tips:

  • If the oil starts to smoke it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool, otherwise it may catch fire.
  • Never fill a pan more than one-third full of fat or oil
  • Never leave the pan unattended when the heat is switched on
  • Make sure that food is dried thoroughly before putting it in hot oil so that it doesn’t spit
  • Never deep fry if you’ve been drinking alcohol or taking drugs, or if you are feeling tired

What to do if a pan catches fire:

  • Turn off the heat under the pan (if it’s safe to do so) and allow it to cool completely
  • Don’t move the pan
  • Never throw water over it - the effects can be devastating
  • Don’t use a fire extinguisher on a pan of oil - the force of the extinguisher can spread the fire
  • Don’t tackle the fire yourself- leave the room, close the door, get everyone out of your home and call 999.” 

The #RecipeForDisaster campaign runs for four weeks, promoting its messages by using radio and billboard advertising, distributing safe cooking tips cards and using social media. The video underlining this week’s theme of the campaign has also been posted on the Service’s website. It shows the consequences of someone not paying attention while they’re preparing to deep fry some chips.