Letter: Cooking is leading cause of home fires

Oct. 11, 2013 @ 11:39 PM

Editor,

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 your smoke alarms sound. You are experiencing the number one cause of home cooking fires – specifically unattended cooking.

The Gatlinburg Fire Department wants to share 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.

You have to be alert when cooking. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.

If you have a cooking fire and are in doubt, 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 flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

For more information on cooking safety visit the National Fire Protection Association at www.nfpa.org/cooking.

Amanda Perryman

Fire Prevention Officer

Gatlinburg Fire Department