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12 days to a fire-safe Christmas: Careful at the stove, oven

POSTED: January 1, 2009 5:00 a.m.

During the holidays, it is easy to get wrapped up in entertaining guests, but it is important to monitor meal preparations, since most cooking fires start when cooking is left unattended. Cooking is the No. 1 cause of home fires in America, and the number of cooking-related fires increases dramatically during this time. The following safe cooking tips can help to make your holiday dinner safe and enjoyable:

Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove.

Keep anything that can catch fire — potholders, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

Have a "kid-free zone" of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire.

Always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Don’t remove the lid until it is completely cool.

If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing. Have the oven serviced before you use it again.

No matter the size of the fire, remember to call 911.

And be careful when you mix alcohol with the Christmas season.

With the onset of the holiday season, it is important to focus on fire safety and prevention. For 12 days, Hall County Fire Services will be providing tips for making your holidays safe. For more information, contact Lt. Beverley Walker with Hall County Fire Services at 770-531-6838.



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