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Staying safe this holiday season

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The holidays are a time to enjoy the company of family and friends, but cooking for these groups of people is when we should take caution.

In 2013, the peak day for home cooking fires was Thanksgiving Day — followed by Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

On Nov. 28, 2013, there were 1,550 fires that were cooking related. Christmas Day followed with 740 and Christmas Eve with 720.

While these fires do not indicate that a home was a total loss, it does indicate that those who cook are not paying closely enough attention.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends the following tips for if there is a cooking fire.

• Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

• Call 911 or the local emergency number after you leave.

• If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.

• Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

• For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

But for the most part there are a few things that the NFPA says individuals should know in order to prevent cooking fires.

• Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.

• Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.

• If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

• Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

The holidays are at time for everyone to enjoy, and by keeping these holiday cooking reminders close by we can do our part to make sure this holiday won’t be our last.

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