FIRE chiefs in South Yorkshire have criticised supermarket giant Asda for an ad campaign encouraging customers to buy chip pans.
The supermarket placed the advert in the latest edition of its Asda Magazine, promoting its cut-price chip pans ahead of National Chip Week.
But South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue service criticised the promotion, pointing out that chip pans, similar to the one Asda is offering for £12, are one of the biggest causes of accidental fire deaths and injury in the home.
Asda has now promised not to promote chip pans in its magazine in future.
Figures show chip pans cause hundreds of injuries and several fatalities in the UK every year.
In South Yorkshire alone, chip pans have caused more than 500 house fires since 2007, killing two people and injuring more than 100.
Diane Malpass, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue head of community safety, said: “It’s perhaps hard to believe, in this day and age, that people still use chip pans, but our data shows they remain a real and present danger.
“You wouldn’t fill a container with flammable liquid and light a flame under it, yet using a chip pan poses the same kind of danger.
“For what seems like decades, we’ve been discouraging the
use of chip pans, so we’re disappointed a retailer is proactively encouraging customers to use chip pans in this way.
“Oven chips or thermostat-controlled fryers are much safer. There is no need whatsoever for people to continue putting lives at risk.”
Asda said it was offering its customers a chance to get involved with National Chip Week, from Monday to Sunday, February 20 to 26, but it promised not to run the ad again.
Asda spokeswoman Jo Newbould, said: “Our intention was to promote ways for families to participate in National Chip Week.
“The Asda Magazine team would like to thank the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue for pointing out our oversight.
“They have our word we won’t promote chip pans in the future.”
Last year, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue ran a successful cooking fire safety campaign which helped cut kitchen fires by 13 per cent.
The campaign included advice which encouraged members of the public to throw out their chip pan by giving away vouchers for money off oven chips at The Co-operative Group.
However, there were still 76 chip pan fires around the county last year, 69 of which were in residential properties.
Only seven affected non-residential properties.
FIRE SERVICE ADVICE:
Never use a chip pan
Thermostat-controlled fryers or oven chips are much safer
Keep electrical leads and tea towels well away from the hob
Never, ever leave cooking unattended
Turn off cooking appliances after use and before you go to bed at night.