Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dangerous Chips

THe Swedish paper Aftonbladet is reporting on a fascinating safety issue with displays of potato chips in stores.

Potato Chips can be a Death Trap
Normal store display completely engulfed in flames in 5 minutes.
A normal store display of potatao chips can become a death trap in less than 5 minutes.
"You have to put out a potato chip fire within 2 minutes, after that only a sprinkler system helps," says Bjorn Albinsson, Fire Inspector with the Swedish Rescue Service Agency (SRSA).
the Swedish National Testing and Research Institue (SP) set a display of potato chips, such as those found in a normal sized Konsum or ICA store, on fire at the request of the SRSA.
In less than 5 minutes, the whole display was engulfed in flame and only a sprinkler system or the fire department would have saved the store from being burnt ot the ground. H0wever, sprinl;er systems are expensive and the SRSA cannot force a store to install them.

75 Kilograms of Fat
"I think it's pretty unusual for a store to have a sprinkler system and most stores don't even have an automatic fire alarm," says Albinsson.
It's the fat in the chips that is a fire hazard and the test was done on both cheese doodles and potato chips. In 275 kilograms of chips, there is 75 kilograms of fat.

"Normal stores are in the danger zone"
"This is actually a surprise to us. We thought it was mostly a danger for large stores with a lot of chips, but this shows that even normal sized stores are in the danger zone," says Bjorn Albinsson.

Need to train Personel
After getting a tip from someone whose bag of chips accidently caguht fire when it fell on a light, the SP also tested lighting a single bag on fire.
"The bag burned, but most of the potato chips were unburnt."
The SRSA is now trying ot get all stores to train their personel on how to handle a fire and to put it out with a fire extinguisher. It's also important that personel learn to evacuate a store in case of a fire.
The Swedish Federation of Trade has also informed its members of the fire hazard.
-Therese Holmberg

So don't smoke in the potato chip aisle.

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