Browsing through the daily fire safety and security news, I noticed, amongst the all too frequent reports of businesses being fined for inadequate Fire Risk Assessments, a report that ASDA had been forced to apologise for selling its chip pans. Apologise to whom you might well ask. Well apparently Asda chose to highlight its bargain price £12 chip pan in its latest edition of Asda magazine. Given that national chip week – yes we do have a national chip week – will be held between the 20th and 26th February this seemed a canny marketing ploy by Asda, and to me, as it happens.
My local South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) were reportedly “outraged” by the promotion, pointing out the 100 accidental chip pan related house fires attended on average each year. This does not seem too bad a record given South Yorkshires 1.3million residents.
Householders need to be aware of the fire risks associated with cooking and cooking appliances. In the UK in 2010/11 cooking appliances were the biggest cause of accidental fire, with nearly 20,000 fires reported but fires caused by smoking materials resulted in by far the greatest number of fatalities.
Asda however, chose to apologise unreservedly and gave their word that chip pans would never be promoted again. Customers will no doubt be encouraged to believe chip pans no longer exist.
SYFR however, are unequivocal: “Oven chips or thermostat controlled fryers are much safer, meaning there is no need whatsoever for people to continue putting their lives at risk.”
For the people who cannot afford a thermostat controlled fryer and continue to use a chip pan why not buy a fire blanket to provide instant and proven fire protection if the user does by chance set fire to the chip pan. In addition the fire blanket is also on hand to suffocate any other accidental home fires including smoker’s materials.