Cook with caution on holiday

Fires involving kitchen equipment common on Thanksgiving Day

KINGMAN - While Kingman didn't add to the list, more than 1,400 fires involving cooking equipment at homes occurred last Thanksgiving.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Nearly all cooking equipment fires start with the ignition of food, other cooking materials, or other items normally found or installed in a kitchen.

The National Fire Protection Association reported the total is more than three times the daily average.

This occurrence hasn't happened in Kingman during the last couple of years, Kingman Fire Battalion Chief Bill Johnston said.

"People are generally home and attentive," Johnston said.

Being present and attentive are key practices to prevent home fires. The NFPA has provided more tips:

• If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

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

• Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

In 2005, 12 percent of the fires occurred when something that could catch fire was too close to the equipment.

Keeping an eye on the food isn't the only concern on this holiday where families gather. The international non-profit organization suggests keeping kids away from cooking areas by established a "no kids zone" in the three feet surrounding the cooking area.

Use the stove's back burners whenever possible, and turn pot handles inward to reduce the risk that pots with hot contents might be knocked over.

For more information and additional safety tips on cooking, go to http://www.nfpa.org.