Fire Safety: Are fires on your stove preventable?

Any pan left unattended is a fire risk. It is so easy to be distracted. Letting a pan boil dry, shallow frying at too high a temperature, or leaving the stove on all cause house fires. But for this blog we have chosen to look at the issue of fire safety – especially when it comes to chip pan fires and cooking oil – because it can too easily ignite.

Most people don’t use chip pans so they think they’re not at risk. In fact Chip pans are the most common cause of house fires in the UK, with around 12,000 chip pan fires every year. These fires result in over 4,600 injuries, and around 50 deaths per year according to Wikipedia.

Sadly the news over the years has too often included headlines like “Family escapes chip pan blaze” and
Cooking is the killer in Scottish house fires” and “Fire that killed ten at halting site was caused by a chip pan” – in this last case the inquest found that a chip pan left on a hot plate was the most likely cause of a fire that claimed ten lives at a Dublin halting site in 2015. Investigators examined an electric cooker at the scene of the fire and found that the chip pan had been left on the hot plate on full power.

It is tragic incidents like these that we hope could become far less frequent and perhaps very avoidable with the use of our Pippa invention. In addition, we hope that Pippa will help decrease damage to property by fire, and in the longer term, by improving fire safety and reducing risk, it may decrease the cost of property and contents insurance policies.

Here’s one example why Pippa can give you several minutes warning before a fire starts.

The best chips you have ever tasted (According to the BBC)

To cook chips that are fluffy inside and have that nice golden crunch on the outside. You’ll want to be frying them at around 130°C for about 10 mins, and then 190°C for 4 or 5 minutes longer.

190* is obviously very hot – but way below the 340°C needed to catch fire. During the 15 mins or so that chips need to fry it is simply too easy to be distracted – by someone at the door, or a phone call, or something on the TV maybe, or falling asleep. According to the UK fire statistics, people aged over 65 are twice as likely to have a fire.

Fire Safety: Chip Pan Fires

Once your oil starts to increase above 190* Pippa will notice and start to give you warnings.

The first, and hopefully the only one needed is simply a verbal message as Pippa talks to you and reminds you to pay attention to your cooking. If for some reason this isn’t acted upon a loud alarm starts, and then a message or phone call is sent to numbers of your choice. This can give the recipients several minutes to take action to avoid a fire. (Incidentally the alarms can be cancelled at any time, and a message will automatically go to the numbers to say that the situation has been attended to).

We hope that having a Pippa will give you peace of mind. Pippa acts as an early warning fire safety system. It can stop fires – before the start!

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