National Chip Week 2014

Tue 18 Feb, 2014

These pictures of a carefully-controlled demonstration at a fire station open day, taken at intervals of one second, show how quickly a fire in a pan of overheated cooking oil can spread if it comes into contact with water. The firefighter poured the water out of a cup at the end of a long handle.

Firefighters are urging chip lovers to take care when they indulge in one of the nation’s favourite foods this National Chip Week (17 to 23 February).

In 2013, more than half of all accidental fires in the home (125 of the 247 accidental house fires in Buckinghamshire, and 119 of the 185 accidental house fires in Milton Keynes), started in the kitchen. Nineteen people were injured in these kitchen fires - eight in Buckinghamshire, and 11 in Milton Keynes.

Neil Boustred, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “Leaving a chip pan unattended for any length of 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.

“If you do choose to use a pan, please don’t leave it unattended. If your pan does catch light, don’t throw water over it – get out, stay out and call 999.”

Neil offered the following safety tips:

  • Don’t overfill a chip pan with oil – never fill it more than one-third full.
  • Be careful that it doesn’t overheat - hot oil can catch fire easily.
  • Use a thermostat-controlled deep fat fryer, which will make sure the fat doesn’t get too hot.
  • Never throw water on a chip pan fire.
  • Don’t cook if you are tired, or after drinking alcohol.
  • In the event of a fire, have an escape route in place.
  • Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999.

Get a smoke alarm and test it weekly. If you don't have smoke alarms, ring Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service on or send an email to

Click here for more information on National Chip Week.