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State Fire Marshal reminds Ohioans to cook safely during holiday season

The State Fire Marshal's Office is reminding Ohioans about the dangers of cooking fires this holiday season.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day house fires occur annually in the United States, resulting in 25 injuries and $21 million in property loss. Cooking is, by far, the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires nationally and in Ohio. Reports from Ohio’s fire departments indicate that nearly 60% of Ohio’s Thanksgiving Day fires are cooking-related.

"The biggest problem is unattended fires. If no one is watching, things can get out of control fast," said State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers (pictured). "Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling or boiling food. And if you are simmering, roasting, baking or boiling; check the food regularly, use a timer and never leave the house while a heating source is on."

Marshal Flowers offers the following tips to reduce the holiday fires due to cooking.

*   Have a safety zone: keep children and pets three feet away from the stove and oven.

*   Never hold a child or pet while cooking.

*   Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

*   Keep potholders, oven mitts, towels and anything flammable away from your stovetop.

*   Clean food and grease from burners and the stove top. It can catch on fire.

*   If you must use a turkey fryer, keep it outside, away from buildings and other structures, such as garages, carports and decks and in view when it is on. The turkey should be thawed prior to frying. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

*   Keep an ABC multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water on a grease fire. Water and grease are a dangerous combination. Water can cause hot grease to splatter.

*   If you are cooking and a fire starts, turn off the heat source; put a lid on it, and Get Out!

In addition, Marshal Flowers encourages Ohioans to have a working smoke alarm installed on every level of the home and in each bedroom or sleeping area. Each member of the household should know the home fire escape plan and practice it twice a year. Guests should be aware of the escape plan and the location of any fire extinguishers in case there is an emergency.

For more information, visit www.com.ohio.gov/fire.

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