Fire department offers tips for safe Thanksgiving cooking

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the City Of Downey Fire Department encourages families to take some safety measures to prevent cooking fires.In the U.S., Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking fires, 90% of which are cause by unattended cooking. To reduce the risk of cooking fires this holiday, the Downey Fire Department recommends the following safety tips: 1.) Keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains away from the stovetop. 2.) Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. 3.) When 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 are cooking. 4.) Stay alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don't use the stove or stovetop. If you have a cooking fire… 1.) Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. 2.) Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave. 3.) If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear path (to your way out of the home and make sure someone has called the fire department). 4.) Keep a lid nearby when cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. 5.) For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Year Around Safety In addition to preventing cooking fires, families can stay safe all year by following these additional tips: •Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters. •Never smoke in bed. •Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach. •Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep. Smoke Alarms •Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check monthly that smoke alarms are working properly by pushing the test button. •At least once a year, replace the batteries in your smoke alarms; every 10 years, replace the entire smoke alarm. Make a Fire Escape Plan •Make sure all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home. •Decide where you will meet outside in case of fire. •Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1. •Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire. For more information about fire safety and prevention, contact the City of Downey Fire Department - Fire Prevention Bureau at (562) 904-7345 or

********** Published: November 17, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 31