Ditch the Chip Pan Campaign

At Oswestry's Wot's Cookin' chip shop left to right, owner Keith Morris with staff Bernie Hanson, Jackie Ellis and Carol Morris with firefighters Paul Humphreys and Alan Walker

Ditch the chip pan and replace it with an electric thermostatically controlled one or cook oven chips instead – that is the message from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service during National Chip Week launched to reduce kitchen fires.

Community fire safety officers are also urging householders to "go to the chippy" instead of cooking their own and causing a potential fire hazard.

It is in the kitchen where most Shropshire house fires start, warned Tamara Hackett, Community Fire Safety Technical Officer with the county fire service.

The UK is a "chip haven" with one out of every four potatoes turned into chips – and 20 per cent of takeaway meals on a Friday night coming from a fish and chip shop.

Chip shop owner Keith Morris with firefighters Paul Humphreys and Alan Walker

There were 230 accidental house fires across the county over a period of 12 months in 2007/2008 with 142 caused in the kitchen. About 100 of these were from cooking incidents with householders forgetting oil filled chip pans and leaving greasy pans on the hob and grill. The remaining 42 kitchen fires were from electrical items such as washing machines and tumble dryers.

National chip week runs from February 9 to 15 when people are urged to get into a possible lifesaving habit of taking more care when cooking chips – or even "ditch" the chip pan and stop off at your local chippy after a busy week or a great night out.

Chip shop owner Keith Morris with firefighters Paul Humphreys and Alan Walker

"Chip pans kill and cause serious burns and injuries. The number of house fires in Shropshire is falling with successful fire prevention education from our firefighters but it is in the kitchen where most fires start," said Tamara.

"Rather than use a chip pan, go for a safer option and cook oven chips or use a thermostatically controlled chip pan," she said.

Firefighters are getting over the "ditch the chip pan" message during regular visits to households to carry out home safety checks. Householders who want their home checked for fire safety should call 01743 260298 for a free visit.

Fire prevention officers say:

Don't be tempted to have a fry up after drinking alcohol

Make sure you have working smoke alarms and test it weekly

Don't ever take any risks by tackling a fire Get out, Stay out and dial 999

10th February, 2009