Fire fighters’ advice to avoid pancake day going up in smoke

Pancake day can be flippin’ dangerous, according to the London Fire Brigade.

Flippin’ dangerous: don’t let a pan fire ruin your pancake day

With around 60per cent of house fires starting in the kitchen, the LFB is urging people to take extra care when cooking pancakes with hot oil as part of the Shrove Tuesday tradition.

So far in 2023, firefighters have attended more than 220 cooking-related fires across the capital, where there have been 19 injuries including eight that were serious.

Often, the cause of the fire is an unattended pan left on a lit cooker hob.

The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Charlie Pugsley, said: “We want people to enjoy making pancakes this Shrove Tuesday but cooking can quickly take a dangerous turn.

“Pan fires can be particularly dangerous and can spread out of control very quickly, especially when using oil. When using a frying pan or cooking with hot oil, never leave the pan unattended when the heat is switched on.

“If the pan does catch fire, never tackle it yourself and don’t attempt to move it or throw water on it as it could create a fireball.

“The best thing you can do is leave the room, close the door, warn others in the property and call 999.”

Data released today shows firefighters in London are mostly likely to be called out to a fire between 7pm and 8pm, when most people are cooking their dinner at home.

Between 2017 and 2022, the Brigade attended 11,153 fires in the home between the hours of 5pm and 8pm, including 3,826 between 7pm and 8pm and 3,768 between 6pm and 7pm.

And AC Pudsley added, “Always keep an eye on children and pets in the kitchen: don’t leave them unsupervised; put matches and lighters away; and keep saucepan handles out of reach.

“The Brigade’s online Home Fire Safety Checker can guide you around your home and provide you with specific advice to reduce fire risks.”

Safety tips to stay safe while flipping pancakes:

  • Never leave cooking unattended
  • Always make sure the cooker and hob are turned off when you’ve finished cooking
  • Pan handles should never be left sticking out over the edge of the cooker, as they’re more likely to be knocked off and cause injury
  • People should also take care to keep all areas of their oven and hob, including the cooker hood, clean, as a build-up of fat and grease is more likely to lead to a fire starting
  • If the oil begins to give off smoke, don’t put the food in the pan
  • Don’t try to tackle the fire yourself and don’t try to move the pan
  • Never throw water over a pan fire, as it could create a fireball
  • Know the plan – make sure everyone in your home knows what to do in the event of a fire

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