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Fire commissioner urges caution with holiday cooking


     Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens urges Georgians to use caution with holiday cooking and when they heat up leftovers on the stove after the holidays are over.
    “We’ve had 15 fatalities in Georgia so far this year in which the cause of the fire was cooking-related,” Hudgens said.  “Over the years we have seen many fires caused by a stove that has been accidentally left on.”

    “In this type of fire, a person may come home from work, put something on the stove, then fall asleep in front of the TV while waiting on their dinner to warm up,” Hudgens said.  “If neglected, a stove can heat a pan to the point that the metal melts.”
    Hudgens suggested the following tips for cooking safety:
    • Always set a timer when cooking so you won’t forget to turn off the burners or oven.
    • If a pan catches fire, cover it with a lid immediately and turn off the burner. Don’t fight a grease fire with water, as it may make the fire worse.
    • Wear tight-fitting sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can contact a burner and ignite.  If this happens, remember “stop, drop and roll.” Stop where you are, cover your face with your hands, and roll over to smother the flames.
    • Never use a cooking stove to heat your home.
    • Install an adequate number of smoke alarms. Most fatal fires start between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. while the family is asleep.  The advance warning of a smoke alarm may mean the difference between life and death.  Nine out of ten fire victims are already dead before the fire department is even called, mainly from smoke and toxic gases.

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