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As National Chip Week begins (16 – 22 February), firefighters are urging people to take extra care when cooking chips to reduce the risk of a fire in the home.

Allen Cunningham, Community Safety Manager at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Chips are a treat, but cooking them at home can be dangerous if not done properly. We strongly advise people not to use chip pans because they can quickly overheat and catch fire, the smallest distraction when using a chip pan can lead to a fire developing rapidly causing devastating effects. The safest way to cook chips is with a deep fat fryer, they are far safer as they are controlled by a thermostat and won’t overheat, or to opt for oven chips.”

Last year Humberside Fire and Rescue Service attended 35 chip pan fires across the region due to the oil overheating and igniting. Cooking related fires accounted for 157 house fires in the Humberside area last year and remains the most common cause of house fire.

“The fact that such a high proportion of house fires are cooking related shows how important it is to remind people of the steps they can take to reduce the risk and keep themselves and their loved ones safe. I would urge everyone to ensure they have smoke alarms fitted in their home which give an early warning and increase the time needed to escape, should a fire break out.” Allen said.

It only takes moments for a hot pan or grill tray to catch fire but by following a few simple steps, the risk of a fire breaking out can be dramatically reduced.

Top tips for staying safe while cooking:

If you are distracted whilst cooking, take pans off the heat, never leave cooking unattended.

Don’t use chip pans, use deep fat fryers instead as they don’t overheat

Don’t put oven gloves or tea towels down on the cooker after use as they could catch fire

Always clean the grill pan after using it to avoid fat build up as when hot this can easily catch fire

If a pan catches fire, do not take risks – get everyone out of your home and call 999

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