FIRE CHIEFS have urged Wiganers to “ban the pan” as careless cooking is revealed as the cause of hundreds of blazes across the borough.
More than 300 cooking related fires have been recorded across the borough since 2009, including dozens caused by chip pans.
And despite the number of incidents slightly decreasing in recent years, the statistics obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal careless cooking to be the number one cause of accidental house fires.
Borough commander for Wigan, Steve Sheridan, said: “I would strongly urge people to be more vigilant when cooking and ban the pan.
“Throw out these dangerous chip pans and use safer alternatives such as deep fat fryers or oven chips - they taste just as good and are much healthier.
“Grill pans also need to be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent fat and oil building up and causing a fire.
Figures obtained from the Greater Manchester Fire Service for the calendar years 2011 and 2012 reveal 215 incidents in the borough where the ignition source was recorded as a cooking appliance.
And between April 2009 and April 2013, 101 incidents have been directly attributed to chips pans, although in that time the figures have decreased more than 30 per cent from 31 in 2009/10 to 21 in 2012/13. According to the Fire Safety Network, more than 12,000 chip pans fires are recorded in the UK each year resulting in 4,600 injuries and 50 deaths on average.
And 43 per cent of casualties from these chip pan incidents are suffered mostly by men under the influence of alcohol between the hours 8pm and 4am.
Mr Sheridan added: “At GMFRS, we don’t just fight fires, we prevent them, and crews, community safety staff and volunteers across the borough are working hard to spread the message of fire safety in the home and provide free advice to residents.
“Having a working smoke alarm in your home is absolutely vital because smoke alarms save lives giving you an early warning. Please ensure you test your smoke alarms regularly to ensure they are in good working order and if you don’t have one, call GMFRS on 0800 555 815 to book a home safety check.”