Thanksgiving kitchen safety - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thanksgiving kitchen safety

November 24, 2003

Albany -- Thanksgiving is a time for families, and big meals for the gatherings. And the Albany Fire Department says it's also a time to use extra caution in the kitchen.

Unattended food on the stove is the leading cause of fires in Albany. Three of every ten reported home fires start in the kitchen. Albany Fire Department Deputy Chief James Carswell said "If you are cooking, obviously there are distractions going on in the holidays. If you leave the stove momentarily, take something with you like a spoon or an oven mitt, something to remind you you are cooking. Because you can get preoccupied and forget that stove is on."

To prevent kitchen fires, never leave cooking food on the stovetop unattended.

Keep a close eye on food inside the oven.

Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles like potholders, towels, or food packages.

 Keep children and pets at least three feet away from cooking areas.

Turn pot handles inward so they won't be bumped.

Wear short close fitting clothes when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle over burners and catch fire.

 If a fire does start in your kitchen, call the fire department immediately.

 If there is an oven fire, keep the door closed to prevent the flames from burning you. If there is a microwave fire, keep the door closed, and unplug it.

Chief Carswell said "It's never a good time for a fire. And obviously with everything going on around the holidays, it's more important to be careful and safe. Especially when dealing with the stove."

In 1999, there were over 96 thousand home fires caused by cooking, resulting in over 511 million dollars in property damage. But more importantly, 331 people died as a result of those fires.

 Fire fighters say don't let the holiday rush turn into a tragedy.

posted at 4:15PM by jimw@walb.com