Chip pans can be extremely dangerous.
Chip pan fires are the cause of the largest number of fire-related injuries in the home. Oil itself is a volatile substance when being heated, and it only takes seconds for an accident to occur, no matter how careful and vigilant you are.
How to use a chip pan safely
- If the oil gets too hot, it can over-heat - a sign of this is smoking oil. Turn down the heat and wait for the oil to cool before adding your chips.
- The oil can spit or overflow onto the hot surface of the cooker, including the hob itself - never fill the pan more than one-third full and never take your eyes off it, even for a few seconds.
- Wet chips can cause the oil to bubble over, even when following the advice above - ensure your chips are dry before you add them to the oil.
How to deal with a chip pan fire
- Don't panic.
- NEVER throw water onto the fire - this will make the oil explode over everything around the pan and will set fire to much more as a result.
- Don't move the pan.
- Turn off the heat if it is safe for you to try - never lean over the pan to reach the cooker controls. If you have been able to turn off the heat and the fire has not spread, or is now under control, leave the pan to cool down for at least 30 minutes.
- Do not attempt to tackle the fire yourself, close the door to the room, ensure all members of the family leave the home, telephone the fire service on 999 and do not go back inside.
If you do nothing else to protect your home and your family, ensure you fit a smoke alarm that has the kite mark and conforms to British Standard 5446 (Part 1). Test the smoke alarm at least once a week by pressing the test button and know the life span of your battery - mark your calendar as a reminder to replace it.