Be safe, prevent cooking fires

by Master Sgt. Edward J. Seeley Sr. and Felipe N. Vazquez
86th Civil Engineering Squadron 

Cooking is often a relaxing and fun task that brings family and friends together, and it provides a great way to showcase your creativity and love of good food. But cooking is also the number one cause of home fires and home injuries.

Being mindful while you cook can go a long way to prevent these fires. The unfortunate fact that home fires occur is a sad reality, and despite sound fire prevention measures and fire safety campaigns, Ramstein Air Base has had four unattended cooking fires within the past two weeks.

This is quite a significant difference from our two-year fire-free track record. With these thoughts in mind, we must move forward by considering some additional control measures.

Here’s what you need to know:

• Keep an eye on what you fry

• Be alert when cooking

• Keep things that can catch fire away from cooking area

Cooking fires by the numbers:

Based on 2009-2013 annual averages, unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in these fires.

• Two-thirds (67percent) of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

• Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1 percent of these fires, but these incidents accounted for 15% of the cooking fire deaths.

• Ranges accounted for the largest share (57 percent) of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16 percent.

• More than half (55 percent) of reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.

• Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.

• Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.

If you have a cooking fire:

• Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

• Call 1-1-2 or 06371-47-112 but only after you leave!

• If you attempt to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.

• Keep a lid nearby when you are 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.

• For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.