Traditional chip pans are prone to catching fire if you don’t keep a watchful eye on them because of the amount of heat that they generate surrounded by large quantities of oil. For this reason, many people now opt for safer options such as the oven, microwave or air fryer.

However, if you still own a traditional oil-based chip pan then there are certain things that you can do to avoid a chip pan fire. 

Chip Pan Fire Safety

Chip pan fires can happen easily if you aren’t keeping an eye on the pan at all times. Even leaving for a quick toilet break or going to set the table could mean you miss the start of the fire and it’s one of the fastest growing types of fire that can start in your home.

In the UK there are almost 50 deaths and up to 4,600 injuries caused by a chip pan fire in the UK each year.

To avoid nasty accidents, there are a few safety considerations that you should take into account.

How To Prevent A Chip Pan Fire

Before you decide to cook your chips in a traditional chip pan, you should consider the following safety precautions:

Dry Your food

Chip pans are typically heated to around 160 degrees celsius to cook your chips quickly. At this temperature any water will be vaporised and added to the oil, expanding its volume by up to 1500 times. This means that washing your food and not drying it prior to placing it in the pan can increase the oil level by disastrous amounts, allowing it to flow over.

Always make sure your food is dry before placing it in the pan.

Don’t leave the kitchen

Chip pan fires can light and spread incredibly quickly so never leave the kitchen when your pan is on, not even for a second.

Don’t Fill a Chip Pan More Than a 3rd of the Way

You may misjudge the oil level if you happen to put more potatoes in than first thought. Never overfill your chip pan, as the more potatoes you add, the higher the oil level gets. If it reaches the brim, it can catch fire easily, leaking out onto your kitchen counter.

Don’t Cook When Drinking Alcohol

It’s tempting, when you get back from a big night out, to cook some food before you go to bed. Never use your chip pan to do this – lock it away before you leave if you need to. If you forget to turn the pan off, it could be fatal.

Don’t Let the Oil Get Too Hot

Never let your chip pan get hotter than it needs to be to cook your food. Most vegetable oil has a smoke point of 230 degrees celsius. If your pan reaches this temperature, it will catch fire.

Always turn off your pan before it reaches this high temperature.

What To Do If My Pan Catches Fire

If a chip pan fire does break out in your home, you should follow these steps:

·        NEVER throw water on the pan. As we’ve learned, this can actually spread the fire faster.

·        Turn off the heat immediately if it’s safe to do so.

·        If you have a fire blanket available, place this over the pan to suffocate the flames.

·        NEVER use a fire extinguisher as this can spread the oil further.

·        Leave the home and call 999 to attend the fire. Don’t try to fight it yourself if it isn’t safe to do so.

If you’d like more information on chip pan fire safety, you can contact Northants Fire for professional support and advice.