Letter: Extra care can prevent cooking fires

I've been thinking about the leading cause of home fires - cooking - and want to make sure your readers can take simple steps to be safer when cooking. We all take cooking for granted - turning on the stovetop, adding oil to the pan, frying the onions - and then the doorbell rings.

You go to the door, and a neighbor has a package for you. You start talking, and a few seconds goes into a few minutes.

Suddenly, you hear the smoke alarm's sound. You are experiencing the No. 1 cause of home fires - cooking - specifically unattended cooking.

Kingman Fire Department wants to share these safety tips to keep you from having a cooking fire:

• Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short 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.

• If you have a cooking fire and are in doubt of what to do, just get out and call the fire department.

• Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you're cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flames. Turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

Charles Osterman

Kingman Fire Chief