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Cooking tips to keep you safe

by Master Sgt. Troy Wright
Assistant chief of fire prevention

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and injuries in base housing. In the past year, MacDill has experienced several fires in base housing due to unattended cooking. The majority of cooking equipment fires start with the ignition of common household items (i.e., wall coverings, paper or plastic bags, curtains, ect.). Before tackling the turkey and pies this Thanksgiving, read these helpful tips on cooking safety.

Facts and Figures

  • In 1998, there were 94,000 home fires associated with cooking equipment, resulting in 396 deaths, 4,656 injuries and $419.1 million in property damage.
  • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires in military family housing.
  • Three in every 10 reported home fires start in the kitchen - more than any other place in the home.

Safety Tips

  • Never leave cooking food on the stovetop unattended, and keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven.
  • Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles (i.e. potholders, towels, drapes and food packaging).
  • Keep children and pets away from cooking areas by creating a three-foot safety zone around your stove.
  • Turn pot handles inward so they can't be bumped and children can't crab them.
  • Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire.
  • Never use a wet oven mitt, as it presents a scald danger if the moisture in there is heated.
  • Always keep a potholder, oven mitt and lid handy. If a small grease fire starts, 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. Never pour water on a grease fire and never discharge a fire extinguisher onto a pan as it can spray or shoot burning grease around the kitchen, actually spreading the fire.
  • If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent the flames from burning you and your clothing.
  • If there is a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave and call the fire department and make sure to have the oven serviced before you use it again. Food cooking in a microwave can be dangerously hot.
  • By following these simple tips you can prevent cooking fires in your home. If you would like further fire safety information on this subject, contact Master Sgt. Troy Wright at the base fire prevention office at 828-4236.




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