Cook up joy, not a tragic fire

In stock photo, firefighter extinguishes stovetop pan fire. Shutterstock.

Some holiday safety tips from Fayette County Fire Department

Cool weather is here and winter is approaching. With it comes advice from Fayette County Deputy Fire Chief Tom Bartlett on precautions that should be taken to avoid house fires.

In stock photo above, firefighter extinguishes stovetop pan fire. Shutterstock.

With winter around the corner, Bartlett advised residents with fireplaces to have all fireplaces checked to make sure everything is in working order. Bartlett also noted the need to burn only good, seasoned wood.

The market today is flooded with a variety of space heaters. If using such a supplemental heat source, Bartlett advised making sure all combustibles are kept away from the space heater.

Fire risk can also occur in the kitchen or in other areas of the home. The obvious place for most kitchen fires in on the stove. With that in mind, Bartlett cautioned residents never to leave a stovetop pan unattended.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, advice for cooking, though not only during the holidays, includes:

• Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop and keep an eye on the food.

• Stay in the home when cooking your turkey as well, and check on it often.

• If you must step away from your cooking, set a kitchen timer so you don’t get distracted by guests.

• Keep children at least three feet away from the stove, oven, hot food and liquids. Steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee could cause serious burns.

• Keep items that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, and towels, away from the cooking area.

For some, there is nothing quite like a deep-fried turkey for the holiday season. And that is where caution when using a deep-fryer comes in. Given the potential for fires, use it outdoors, keep it off wooden surfaces such as decks and never leave the deep-fryer unattended.

One unfortunate Fayette County homeowner recently experienced dangers involved in deep-frying. He left the deep-fryer in the garage unattended while cooking a turkey. The unit caught fire, resulting in the total loss of his home.

There have been 168 turkey-fryer-related fire, burn, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning incidents since 2002, causing 672 injuries and $8 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Fryers should only be used outdoors on a sturdy, level surface isolated from anything that could burn.

Fire safety involves more than minding that roaring fire or cooking a holiday turkey. Even a warm, glowing candle can potential spell disaster.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, candles are responsible for an estimated 15,600 residential fires per year, resulting in 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries and $539 million in property damage.