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ASK THE EXPERTS

Local fire officials urge holiday cooking safety

POSTED: November 24, 2010 4:00 a.m.

Cooking is the leading cause of residential structure fires on Thanksgiving Day, according to emergency officials. 

 

“Thanksgiving Day has more than double the number of home cooking fires than an average day,” said Tim Satterfield, deputy chief of Dawson County Emergency Services.

 

Every year, close to 4,300 fires erupt nationwide on Thanksgiving, causing 10 fatalities, about 50 injuries and nearly $30 million in property damage, according to reports by the U.S. Fire Administration.

 

“Of these fires, 2,000 are in residential structures that claim lives, injure 25 and cause $21 million in damage,” Satterfield said.

 

Dawson County Emergency Services urge residents to follow these safety tips this Thanksgiving.

 

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

 

If you are simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking and use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.

 

Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

 

Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet around the stove.

 

Keep anything that can catch on fire — pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging and towels or curtains — away from your stove top and oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.

 

If you must use a turkey fryer, make sure it is outdoors and in an open area away from all walls, fences or other structures that could catch on fire and away from moisture that can cause serious burns from steam or splattering hot oil. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  

 

Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen and use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

 

After your Thanksgiving guests leave, ask a family member to perform a home safety check to ensure that all candles and smoking materials are extinguished.

 

For more information, call Dawson County Emergency Services at (706) 344-3675

 

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