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Shropshire firefighters urge safety in the kitchen during National Chip Week fire safety campaign

left to right…chip shop owner Simon Savva with fire risk reduction officers Andy Cooper and Shane Gazey (kneeling)
Firefighters convey the message that chip pan accidents can cause serious burns and injuries
National Chip Week has the backing of Shropshire firefighters who are urging people to get a portion of their favourite food from the chippy or takeaway instead of cooking at home after a night out.

Fire crews are aiming their fire safety message at revellers who often feel hungry after a night out but set fire to their kitchen after putting the chip pan on - and then fall asleep in an armchair.

"We want to target our message to the age groups who go out drinking and then come home and cook when they feel hungry. Don't cook after drinking alcohol - that is our message as too often it leads to a house fire when people fall asleep with the chip pan on," said Kate Hancocks, a Risk Reduction Officer with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters were hammering home their message at two Shropshire chippies at the Big Blue Fish Bar in Leegomery, Telford and at Fry-Days in Wem. The fire service's Outreach Vehicle used in public education campaigns was at both venues.

Fire crews are called out to a number of incidents involving house fires caused by chip pans and cookers left on when the cook has fallen asleep after drinking alcohol.

"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.

Shropshire FRS officers with chip shop owner Simon Savva (left) outside the chip shop
Firefighters are hammering home their message at two Shropshire chippies at the Big Blue Fish Bar

"It is a problem which we are trying to tackle and by supporting National Chip Week from February 15 to 21st we do hope that people will listen and get into the habit of cooking safely or consider getting a takeaway instead of cooking at home after a night out," said Kate.

Councillor Keith Austin, who joined the campaign, said: "Having a visit from firefighters is not the sort of visit you want. It is an important message for everyone, young and old alike not to be complacent about the dangers."

Councillor Roger Aveley added: "This is a good idea if it can help to save lives."

Fire safety officers also urge people to ditch the old fashioned chip pan responsible for causing serious fire damage to homes and replace it with electric thermostatically controlled chip pans in a bid to reduce kitchen fires.

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.

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