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Be Cautious With Holiday Cooking

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and everyone looking forward to a great holiday meal, it is important to remember that the majority of accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking. Here are some safety tips:

• 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 alert if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.

If a fire occurs, property damage can be drastically reduced if people know what to do. The Wilton Fire Department suggests the following steps when confronted with a kitchen fire:

• If the fire is confined to a pan on top of the stove, slide the lid across the pan and leave it there. Do not attempt to move the pan outdoors because you may burn yourself or spread the fire.

• Never throw water or flour on a burning pan. Water will spread the flames and flour will explode!

• Do not turn on the exhaust fan. This could suck the fire inside the walls of your home. If the fire is in your oven, close the door to cut off the fire's air supply and shut off the heat.

• Put a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Make sure it is accessible if a grease or oven fire occurs. When purchasing a fire extinguisher for kitchen use, make sure it is rated for Class ABC fires to ensure its acceptability for use on kitchen fires. If a fire breaks out and it is too large to cover or use your fire extinguisher, leave the house immediately and call 911 from a cell phone or neighbor's telephone. Trying to fight a fire yourself when it's too large can cause far more extensive damage and result in serious, unnecessary injuries.

Keep your kitchen fire-safe. For more safety tips and other useful information, visit the U.S. Fire Administration on the web .

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