Columbus experts give holiday cooking safety tips to avoid home - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus experts give holiday cooking safety tips to avoid home fires

Columbus experts give holiday cooking safety tips to avoid home fires

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Thanksgiving is just around the corner and experts are continuing to remind Georgians to be extra careful as the holidays continue.

According to State Farm's recent report, Georgia ranks second in nation for holiday cooking fires.

National reports say cooking fire is the number one cause of residential fires, and State Farm reports Georgia had the highest number of cooking fire claims on Thanksgiving in 2013 with a total of 15 claims but with seven cooking related fire claims.  

New York ranked number one with 19 claims with three cooking claims last year. Other states that made the State Farm's holiday cooking fire list were Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, Louisiana, Minnesota, Ohio, North Carolina and New Jersey respectively.

"Cooking fire is the leading cause of home fires and home injuries," Jay Bonner with State Farm in Columbus explained. "Unattended cooking is also one of the leading causes of kitchen fires ads well. Bad things can happen when a large group of people gather in one place. We want to share some holiday safety tips to make sure our families are safe and protected this holiday season."

State Farm is reminding people to keep a few tips in mind when cooking holiday meals this year:

-          Be awake and alert when cooking.

-          Do not leave the stove or oven unattended

-          Keep oven mitts, towels, and other materials that can catch fire away from stove top.

-          Use a timer when cooking multiple foods

"If you have a coking fire, make sure to leave the building immediately," Bonner explained. "Keep a lid nearby so you can put out small fires. Call 911 and make sure you help other people get out first, if you are trying to fight the fire."

Adelaide Kirk, the executive director of the American Red Cross at West Central Georgia Chapter says the organization's Disaster Action Teams (DAT) and volunteers respond to more house fires in the winter months for various reasons.

"People use different kinds of heating sources in the winter," Kirk explained. "You also have more concentrated number of people doing the same activity at the same time. For instance, cooking holiday meals with guests in the house can distract people from cooking. Also, most frying, boiling and grilling will take place inside homes since it's too cold to cook outside."

Kirk says American Red Cross is constantly looking for more volunteers to join its Disaster Action Team to assist fire fighters with disasters. Those interested in volunteering this season can visit their website or give them a call at 706-323-5614.

National reports say nine out of ten fire victims are already dead from smoke and gas even before the fire department is called. Columbus Fire has an annual program that will give and install free smoke alarms for all residents throughout the city. Local residents can get their free smoke alarms by calling the fire department at 706-653-3500.

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