National Chip Week Fire Safety Tips

ChipsChips are one of the nation’s favourite foods. The National Chip Week (16th – 22nd February) celebrates this passion in a fun way encouraging everyone to eat chips, vote for their favourite condiment and the best chip shop and to share ideas and recipes.

However, with over half of last year’s domestic fires being linked to cooking there is a serious side to this national celebration. Over 3,000 people were injured last year in kitchen fires, many of which involved deep fat fryers. With this in mind we would like to remind everyone planning to cook chips of some fire safety tips.

– If possible use a thermostatically controlled deep fat fryer, the thermostat regulates the temperature of the fat and prevents overheating.

– Look out for signs of the oil overheating, if it starts to smoke, the oil is too hot. Turn off the heat or remove from the source of heat and leave to cool.

– Oil can ignite very quickly if splashed onto hot surfaces. Care should therefore be taken not to overfill chip pans (it is recommended that the pan is no more than a third full of oil)

– Never cook with oil after consuming alcohol and always attend to your cooking, never leave the room with a pan still cooking. A chip pan can ignite very quickly. ALWAYS supervise cooking with oil.

– Should your chip pan ignite ensure that you and any occupants of the house are safe. Call 999 and leave the house, closing doors and windows as you go.

– If you are able to, turn off the heat, never try to move a burning chip pan. Burning oil may spill and spread the fire. If you are confident in doing so, use a fire blanket or a wet chemical extinguisher

– Think of safer ways to cook chips, oven chips and air fryers are not only safer but healthier ways to enjoy your chips this week.

Lastly, before embarking on cooking chips and joining in the general celebration of the humble chips, check that your smoke alarms and heat alarms are working. A smoke alarm will alert occupants of a fire, giving them precious seconds to evacuate.

Pancake Day Fire Safety Tips

What is pancake day?

Pancake day, or Shrove Tuesday, is a Christian traditional feast that takes place just before Lent, 40 days leading up to Easter.

Can pancakes catch fire?

Yes, pancakes, and more importantly the oil in which they are cooked, can catch fire. It doesn’t take much for a pan with oil to overheat and to burst into flames, so take care when cooking with oil.

Frying pan oil fire over gas hob.

What should I do to reduce the risk of fire on pancake day?

Because oil can quickly catch fire there are some important fire safety tips that you should follow to ensure your Shrove Tuesday does not go up in smoke:

– Never leave the stove unattended, not even for a minute.

– Make sure that the fat in the pan does not smoke. If it does, remove it from the heat and wait for it to cool before adding your pancake mixture.

– Make sure that anything that can easily catch fire, such as tea towels, oven gloves, and kitchen roll, are well away from the stove.

– Supervise children at all times.

– Ensure that your smoke alarms and heat alarm are in good working order. If you do not have smoke alarms fitted, fit one today. Early warning of a fire could save your life.

– If the pan catches fire, DO NOT move it. If safe to do so, turn off the cooker and use a fire blanket or water mist extinguisher if you have one.

– If it is not safe to extinguish the fire, evacuate the building and call the fire brigade.

Knowing how you would evacuate your home in the event of a fire will help increase your chances of escaping a fire. If you have children, talk them through the escape plan and practice what you want them to do. You can also do a home fire safety check to see if there are any fire risks in your home and take steps to reduce a fire happening by completing this online home fire safety check.

Angie Dewick-Eisele

HR & Marketing Manager

Angie has been our marketing manager since joining in 2002. She also has a keen interest in H&S issues.

Break the triangle, kill the fire

The fire triangle is made up of three elements: fuel, oxygen and heat. Removing any one of these elements will stop the fire. Fire protection equipment will help you and your staff break the triangle. However, fire safety training will be essential to learn how to do this safely.

Most fire extinguishers and fire blankets deprive the fire of oxygen by either covering it or dispersing the oxygen near the fire. Foam and water extinguishers will also cool the fire, extinguishing it in the process. Fire extinguishers are important in stopping a small fire from spreading. However, fire should only be tackled if staff are trained in the use of fire extinguishers and are confident in what they are doing.

Preventing a fire from starting in the first place is always the best form of fire safety. Encourage staff to keep an eye out for potential causes of fire, such as faulty electrical equipment or hazardous materials, and use flammable liquid storage cabinets to work towards removing the ‘fuel’ element of the famous fire triangle.

Break the fire triangle

The fire triangle is made up of three elements: fuel, oxygen and heat. Basic fire safety training teaches us that removing any one of these elements is the first step to stopping the fire and will prevent the fire from spreading and causing irreversible damage. A range of fire protection equipment will help you and your staff to break this triangle if it is reasonably safe to do so. Fire safety training will give you further advice on various situations and what to do.

Equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets are extremely important in stopping a small fire from spreading. However, fire should only be tackled if staff are trained in the use of fire extinguishers and are confident in what they are doing. When it comes to fire extinguishers, it is also vital that the right extinguisher is to hand and that staff know which extinguisher to use and the importance of this.

Of course, preventing a fire from starting in the first place is always the best form of fire safety. Encourage staff to keep an eye out for potential causes of fire, such as faulty electrical equipment or hazardous materials, and use flammable liquid storage cabinets to work towards removing the ‘fuel’ element of the famous fire triangle.  We have both single and double door cabinets available in a range of sizes, allowing you to store all of your chemicals, hazardous materials and flammable liquids safely away from the reach of potential fire.

Pan fires and fire extinguishers

Deep fat fryer fires and pan fires with burning fat are difficult to extinguish. The jet of an ordinary extinguisher can carry the burning fat out of the pan and spread the fire, making the problem worse. Any traditional water based extinguishers can also be dangerous, as water droplets sink into the fat and then erupt violently, spreading the fire. The five most commonly used methods of extinguishing fat fires are:

1) wet chemical extinguishers

2) fire blankets

Wet chemical extinguishers

Wet chemical fire extinguishers are usually supplied with a long lance which helps to safely deploy the foam. The wet chemical forms a thick soapy foam-like blanket over the surface of the burning oil/fat which stops oxygen from reaching the fire and smothers the flames. This process is known as saponification, which is an endothermic process that not only ensures that the additive penetrates the fat/oil and creates a seal, but also cools it to below the ignition temperature, thus preventing the oil/fat from re-igniting

Fire blankets

Fire blankets are spread over the burning pot or pan and exclude oxygen which suffocates the fire. It is crucial to leave the fire blanket on top of the container even when the flames have gone, as the hot fat would re-ignite again should the blanket be removed.

National Chip Week 20-26 February 2012

National chip week is a fun week celebrating the British love of chips. There are many sites on web with hints and tips of how to cook the best chips but amongst all the fun there is a serious side to Nation Chip Week.

According to a report, Fire statistics: Great Britain 2010 – 2011, more than half of accidental fires in the home were due to cooking. As many people will be supporting National Chip Week by cooking chips there is cause for concern regarding household safety.

Old fashioned chip pans should be discarded as fat in them can become quickly overheated and burst into flames. Many people do not know how to cope with a chip pan fire and make the situation worse by trying to put the fire out with water. NEVER pour water on to a chip pan fire, this causes the fat to spit out of the pan and spread the fire.

If you have a fire blanket: Open the blanket completely and be sure to shield your face and body from the fire. Protect your hands by ensuring, as you hold the blanket, that they are always behind the blanket. Cover the burning container completely, do not throw the blanket. Turn off any gas or fuel supply and leave the blanket in place until the oil or fat has cooled completely.

The only extinguishers that can be safely used on fat fires are specialist ABF extinguishers and wet chemical extinguishers.

Here are some tips to prevent a fire in your kitchen:- Never leave cooking unattended, if you must leave the kitchen turn the cooker off until your return.- Ensure that you have a working smoke or heat alarm fitted in your house. Heat alarms are specially suited for kitchens as they will not be triggered by burning the toast.- think of alternative ways of cooking food, buy oven chips or cook chips in a thermostatic fryer.- Ensure that your children know what to do in the event of a fire, practice your fire drill with them.- Check your smoke alarms are working on a regular basis, sign up to our reminder service to help you

National Chip Week 15-21 February 2010

Safelincs would like to help National Chip Week be a safe and enjoyable week for all chip lovers.

Chip pans can easily cause a fire with devastating effects. The oil gets very hot and can over heat causing it to combust and start a fire. If pans are left unattended the risk of this happening rises. Many people panic and throw water over the pan to put the fire out. The water and oil react with each other in such a way that burning oil can spill over the side of the pan and ignite other sources outside of the chip pan causing the fire to spread rapidly.

If you are enjoying chips, which celebrate 150 years this year, by cooking them yourself at home make sure that you are fully prepared and follow our simple safety tips to keep you, your family and your home safe during National Chip Week.

How to deal with a chip pan fire

If your chip pan were to ignite place a fire blanket over it or if you do not have a fire blanket place a damp cloth over the pan.

  • Turn off the heat and leave the chip pan to cool. DO NOT TAKE IT OUTSIDE! This could cause the fire to flare up again when it comes into contact with the air
  • Ensure you have a fire blanket in the kitchen and/or a suitable fire extinguisher
  • Ensure you have a heat alarm installed in the kitchen to alert you to a fire

Safety tips:

  • Never leave your chip pan unattended whilst cooking or let yourself be distracted.
  • Always ensure that you know how to deal with a chip pan fire.
  • Check your smoke/heat alarm is working on a regular basis.
  • Make sure that you do not put wet chips into a pan full of very hot oil.

Safelincs can provide you with all your fire safety needs. Follow the links below if you are interested in any of the following products.

Specialist fire extinguishers which contain Chemicals which create a smoothering action over the flames and burning oil