When the chips are down, call the fire service

Demonstration of adding water to a chip pan fire
Demonstration of adding water to a chip pan fire

It’s National Chip Week, a celebration of one of Britain’s traditional treats, and the top message from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is to cook chips safely.

Cooking is the number one cause of house fires. Last year there were 4690 accidental house fires in Scotland and 59 per cent of them were cooking related.

You can reduce your chances of being injured by fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen.

These are specially designed for the kitchen and are not activated by smoke, preventing false alarms. A heat alarm will alert you to a cooking fire more quickly than a smoke alarm and give you the best chance to get out fast.

Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, Director of Prevention and Protection, SFRS said: “Deep frying with chip pans poses an ongoing safety risk.

“So we want to make sure everyone cooks safely and knows the associated dangers.

“It only takes a moment of distraction, or falling asleep, for a fire in the home to start.”

Advice from SFRS includes:

* Fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen, and making sure you have working smoke alarms in your home.

* If you’re tired, have been drinking or have taken drugs, don’t cook. You’ll be less alert to the signs of fire.

* If you want chips at the end of a night out, buy them in a chip shop on the way home – it’s much safer.

Lewis added: “The best way to avoid having a chip pan fire is to use a thermostat- controlled, electric deep fat fryer instead. Oven or microwave chips are also safer alternatives to chip pans.

“If you do use a chip pan and it catches fire, never try to move the pan and never throw water over it as it will react violently with the hot oil.

“If the fire is well developed get out, stay out and dial 999.

“If the fire is in its early stages, and if it is safe to do so, turn off the heat. Then get out of the kitchen, close the door and call the SFRS.”