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Arun District Deliberate Fire Report 2014-15_October1

News Release

For Immediate Release

Monday 16th February 2015

“Stand by your pan!”  state firefighters during national chip week

Firefighters in West Sussex are urging chip lovers to be extra vigilant when they indulge in one of the nation’s favourite foods this National Chip Week (16th-22nd February 2015).

Over half of all accidental house fires in West Sussex are started in the kitchen with the majority caused by unattended or careless cooking. Leaving a chip pan unattended, for even a short time, can have disastrous results as the oil can easily overheat and ignite. A simple switch from the pan to the oven or a temperature controlled deep-fat fryer can help prevent the worst.

Watch this short film clip to see just how dangerous oil fires can be.

Community Fire Safety Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Jackie Boyle, said:

“Some people assume that cooking chips in a pan of hot oil is a thing of the past, but we know from the incidents our crews attend, even as recently as last month, that it’s still popular and, when not given full attention, potentially highly dangerous.

“We’d recommend oven chips as a safer option, but if people do choose to fry then please ensure you stand by your pan – don’t be tempted to leave it unattended. If you are unlucky enough to have a chip pan fire, please don’t try and tackle it yourself, especially not with water, it could put your life in serious danger.”

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’ tips on frying safely:  

  1. Most kitchen fires occur when people leave things unattended.
  2. Don’t let yourself be distracted while cooking, if you are called away from the cooker take pans off the heat
  3. Never fill a chip pan (or other deep-fat fryer) more than one-third full of oil
  4. Consider using a thermostatically controlled deep-fat fryer – this will ensure that the fat does not get too hot
  5. Fit a smoke alarm on each level of your home and don’t forget that weekly test!

If a pan catches fire:

  1. Don’t move it – it is likely to be extremely hot
  2. Turn off the heat if it’s safe to do so – but never lean over a pan to reach the controls
  3. Don’t use water on a chip pan fire – the water reacts with the oil creating a potentially lethal fireball
  4. Don’t use a fire extinguisher on a pan of oil – the force of the extinguisher can spread the fire
  5. If you have put the fire out, leave the pan to cool completely

Would you or someone you know benefit from a FREE Home Fire Safety Check? Call 0845 872 9719 or log onto to find out if you are eligible

Please note:

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offer free Home Fire Safety Checks where fire-fighters visit homes by appointment to give safety advice and, where appropriate, fit smoke detectors or other specialist fire detection equipment.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service particularly want to hear from those who are:

Are 65 or over and live alone

Have a physical disability or frailty affecting their ability to either summon help or escape in an emergency

Use a Community Alarm or Emergency Monitoring service like Careline or Lifeline

Have a sensory impairment or difficulty hearing a standard smoke alarm

Have a cognitive impairment affecting their ability to remember things or retain information, such as dementia

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