A FIRE safety campaigner has called for chip pans to be banned from homes in an effort to clamp down on killer kitchen fires.
Heather Whyman, chief executive of Cleveland Fire Support Network, says the number of house fires would tumble if chip pans were taken out of the kitchen altogether.
The voluntary network in partnership with Cleveland Fire Brigade staged a hard-hitting event yesterday as they alerted students of the dangers of disaster in the kitchen.
Dozens of students were given lifesaving messages on how to avoid a potentially killer blaze while cooking.
Firefighters carried out chip pan demonstrations while young people also watched shocking videos of the impact of a fire, starting in the kitchen and ripping through a home.
“Events like this are fantastic because it really hits home for the students,” said Heather.
“Even if they come just to see the visual demonstration of the chip pan fire, it gets the message across.”
Firefighters and volunteers targeted students who may find themselves cooking for the first time when they move away to university or move into their own place.
“It’s good to get the message across to students but we want everyone to realise just how dangerous a kitchen fire can be.
“One way to significantly cut the risk would be for shops to stop selling chip pans full stop,” added Heather.
“If the Government can stop people smoking in pubs then I’m sure they can ban chip pans.”
Catering students put their aprons on yesterday as they spent the day practicing how to prepare potato-based dishes safely.
The winners will be back in the kitchen on Friday as they take on the champions of similar competitions held in colleges throughout Teesside.
Yesterday’s activities were organised as part of Cleveland Fire Brigade’s month-long Kitchen Safety campaign.
That is running alongside National Chip Pan Week, scheduled to take place next week but brought forward by Cleveland Fire Support Network to target college students before the half term break.
Hospitality and catering level 2 student Arron Buttery, 17, who lives in Whitby Street, in Hartlepool, said: “I think a lot of students maybe don’t realise how easy it is for a fire to start in the kitchen.
“We’ve been able to see that in demonstrations today and also how to avoid it.”
l In tomorrow’s Mail fire chiefs talk about how to prevent fires in the home.