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Lichfield firefighters will be revealing how NOT to prepare food in the kitchen during a series of public demonstrations to mark National Chip Week. Crews will be at the Tesco Extra store in Lichfield on February 18 to highlight the potential dangers of using chip pans. Statistics show more accidental house fires start in the kitchen than any other room. This is often a result of cooking and leaving pans unattended. The service has been called to 18 kitchen fires in Lichfield over the last 12 months. As a result Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to ban the pan during National Chip Week (February 15-21). Lichfield Watch Manager, Steve Whitehouse, said:
“Chip pans have the potential to cause serious fires because they can overheat very quickly and then ignite. Many fires we are called to are caused by people putting their chip pans on the cooker and then leaving them, falling asleep, being distracted by a phone call or someone at the door. “We would urge everyone to use deep fat fryers instead as they are much safer because they are thermostatically controlled which means they cannot overheat.  Or as a healthier and safer alternative people should try oven chips!”
Firefighters from Lichfield Fire Station will be at Tesco throughout the day, handing out fire safety information and encouraging people to book free Home Fire Risk Checks. There will also be three chip pan fire demonstrations from 11am to 1pm, 2pm to 4pm and 5pm to 7pm. The initiative is being supported by Jacqui Magitis, Community Champion for Tesco, Lichfield. She said:
“We hope customers will want to come along and support our firefighters with their project and we look forward to working with them in the future.”
If people must cook chips in a traditional chip pan, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Servcie advises the following these fire safety tips – not just during National Chip Week but all year round:
  • Don’t overfill a chip pan with oil – never fill it more than one-third full.
  • Don’t use your chip pan after drinking alcohol.
  • Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and dial 999.
  • Never throw water on a chip pan fire.
  • In the event of a fire, have an escape route in place.

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Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.