Keeping it safe in the kitchen

Published 2:30 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Last year, Austin lost two people to fire-related causes, one on Thanksgiving and one on Christmas.

Across the state, 57 people died in 2015 in fires in Minnesota, the highest number of fire fatalities since 2002.

The National Fire Protection Association reported 1,550 fires across the U.S. on Thanksgiving on 2013, which was up 230 percent from the average number of fires per day.

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Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and associated civilian injuries, and it was the third leading cause of home fire deaths, according to the NFPA’s Fire Analysis & Research Division.

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.

Here are some tips the NFPA gives for preventing fires:

•Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.

•Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.

•Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.

•Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.

•Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.

•Keep knives out of the reach of children.

•Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

•Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.

•Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.

•Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

•Have activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time. Games, puzzles or books can keep them busy. Kids can get involved in Thanksgiving preparations with recipes that can be done outside the kitchen.