CHESHIRE Fire and Rescue Service have issued cooking safety advice ahead of two months packed with culinary-based celebrations.

February and March will feature Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day), Valentine's Day and also National Chip Week.

While these present lots of opportunities for Cheshire residents to hone their cooking skills, it can potentially present extra calls to the fire service.

Last year over half of all accidental fires in the home in England were linked to cooking.

Group manager for Cheshire West, Richard Gorst said: “February is a great time to cook with and for family and friends but just a moment's distraction could turn your kitchen fun into tragedy. Unfortunately fires can easily start if people don't take enough care.

“By following a few simple precautions you can greatly reduce the risks for yourself and your family. I would also urge people to make sure that they have a working smoke alarm installed.”

Top tips for cooking include:

Take care when cooking with oil – it sets alight easily

Do not leave cooking unattended – a forgotten pan can lead to disaster

If cooking oil starts to smoke, it's too hot – turn off the heat and leave it to cool

Use a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer instead of a chip pan as they can't overheat

Avoid children being in the kitchen alone when cooking on the hob

Don't overfill a chip pan with oil – never fill it more than one third full

Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil so it doesn't splash

What to do if a pan catches fire: Don't take any risks. Turn the heat off if it is safe to do so.

Never throw water over it. Don't tackle the fire yourself – Get Out, Stay Out, Call 999.