Safest People, Safest Places

Fire service and head chef promote safe Pancake Day

Fire service and head chef promote safe Pancake Day

This Shrove Tuesday County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) has teamed up with the head chef at New College Durham to spread important kitchen safety messages.

National statistics show that 60 per cent of fires in the home start in the kitchen and on Tuesday 28 February, as we prepare to add fat to hot pans, whip up our favourite batter mixture and toss pancakes, kitchens can be risky rooms to be in.

CDDFRS community safety officer Barbara Tait joined Paul McLaughlin, head chef at New College Durham, to make a short video setting out the risks, giving advice about how to avoid the dangers and making some good pancakes along the way.

The video is available to view via the following link:

Barbara Tait said: “Information about cooking safely is some of the most important that we can share. When making pancakes it is important that you never leave any cooking or kitchen appliances unattended. It only takes a few seconds for an unattended pan or cooker to ignite and develop into a serious and life threatening fire. It was fantastic to be able to work with professional chefs and students at New College Durham to remind people of the potential dangers in the kitchen.”

Paul McLaughlin, head chef at New College Durham said: “Safety in the kitchen is of primary importance to our staff and students. We are pleased to be able to help spread safety advice at a time when we know lots of people of all ages will be cooking pancakes. One of the most common mistakes, which is dangerous and also makes for poor pancakes, is that people use too much oil in the their pan. Just a coating is all that’s needed, your pancakes don’t need to go for a swim.”

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to remember the following safety tips:

Take care when cooking with oil – it ignites easily
Do not use too much oil – coating the pan is all that is needed
If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool
Do not leave cooking unattended and supervise children in the kitchen at all times
Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil so it doesn’t splash
If using a deep fat fryer make sure it is thermostat controlled so it can’t overheat
If you must use a chip pan - never fill it more than one third full of oil.

If you do have a fire:

Don’t take any risks. Turn the heat off if it is safe to do so
NEVER throw water onto a chip pan fire!
Don’t tackle the fire yourself – get out, stay out, call 999.

Householders are also reminded to check their smoke alarms ahead of Shrove Tuesday on 28 February by pushing the button on the device.

A working smoke alarm will greatly increase the chances of escaping a fire unharmed. Have an exit route planned and make sure that every member of your family knows how to leave the home in the event of fire.

For more information visit or to book a home fire safe and wellbeing check with CDDFRS call: 0845 223 4221.

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