Cooking safety for the holiday

Cooking and heating-related incidents are the leading cause of residential fires in Alaska, and with the holidays here, warm, cozy homes and holiday feasts play a major role in our preparations for family gatherings. 
 
These fires can be prevented by simply following a few safety precautions; 
  • Pay attention while cooking, especially when using oils and grease.  Cooking appliances should be kept clean of food and grease build-up.
  • Young children need to be kept away from cooking appliances to prevent any mishaps.
  • It’s a good idea to use back burners when possible and keep pot handles turned to the inside so they won’t be pulled or knocked over.
  • Check stoves and other appliances before going to bed or leaving your home to make sure that the units are left in the “off” position.
  • Keep combustible materials like holiday decorations at least 36 inches from heat sources.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions when using space heaters.  All heaters should be approved by a recognized testing authority such as Underwriters Laboratories.
 
Cooking your holiday turkey in a hot oil fryer is not recommended because of the extreme fire danger of igniting the hot oil.  If you decide to use a turkey fryer, keep it out doors away from combustibles, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and have a fire extinguisher available.
 
If a fire occurs in a pan, the most effective and safest method of control is to turn off the burner and apply a lid to the pan.  Never carry a pan that’s on fire, it may ignite clothes, or spill, causing severe burns.  Putting water on a grease fire will only spread the fire.  If the fire is inside your oven, turn off the heat and leave the door closed to cut off the fire’s air supply.  Call 911 as soon as possible in case of any fire emergency.
 
Ensure your home has properly installed and working smoke alarms, and plan and practice your fire escape plan. Also, adding a residential fire sprinkler to your home can ensure your family’s safety from a fire that occurs during the holidays or anytime of the year.