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Cooking Fires: Holidays Up in Flames

Cartersville Fire Department officials have some advice for what can be the most hazardous room in the home—the kitchen.

Did you know cooking fires are the most common type in U.S. households? Well, it's true and there's no time of the year it's more true than the holidays. 

"There is an increased incidence of cooking fires on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day," Cartersville fire officials said in a press release. "Cooking fires are also the leading cause of civilian fire injuries in residences.

"These fires are preventable by simply being more attentive to the use of cooking materials and equipment. Don’t become a cooking fire casualty. Learn the facts about cooking fire safety today."

The Facts

  • Cooking was the cause of almost half (46 percent) of residential building fires in 2009.
  • Males face a disproportionate risk of cooking fire injury relative to the amount of cooking they do.
  • Young children and older adults face a higher risk of death from cooking fires than do other age groups.
  • Young children are at high risk from non-fire cooking-related burns.
  • Unattended cooking is the single leading factor contributing to cooking fires.
  • Many other cooking fires begin because combustibles are too close to cooking heat sources.
  • Frying is the cooking method posing the highest risk.
  • More than half of home cooking injuries occur when people try to fight the fire themselves.

Safety Tips

The kitchen can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the home if you don’t practice safe cooking behaviors. Here are some safety words of wisdom:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you're cooking.
  • Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won't be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire—potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains—away from your stovetop.
  • Keep the stovetop, burners and oven clean.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly-rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
  • Plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance, as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
  • When cooking, stay in the kitchen and keep an eye on the stove.

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