Take extra care when cooking with hot oil

Thu 12 Feb, 2015

Next week (16 to 22 February) is National Chip Week, and firefighters are urging people to take care when they indulge in one of the nation’s favourite foods.

Nationally, more than half of all accidental house fires start in the kitchen, and fires involving cooking oil can develop quickly if not dealt with properly.

Locally, in 2014, two-thirds of all accidental fires in the home (145 of the 232 accidental house fires in Buckinghamshire, and 101 of the 152 accidental house fires in Milton Keynes), started in the kitchen. Twenty people were injured in these kitchen fires - eleven in Buckinghamshire, and nine in Milton Keynes.

The pictures above, taken at intervals of one second, show a carefully-controlled demonstration at a fire station open day. The firefighter poured the water out of a cup at the end of a long handle.

They illustrate how quickly a fire in a pan of overheated cooking oil can spread if it comes into contact with water..

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. If safe to do so, close all doors as you are leaving the house."

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 01296 744477 or send an email to cs@bucksfire.gov.uk

Click here for more information on National Chip Week.