Hickory – If you are cooking treats for New Year’s Eve or meals for the family, Hickory firefighters would like to remind you of a few safe-cooking practices.

Cooking In all the hustle and bustle, don’t leave cooking unattended.  Stay in the kitchen while cooking or turn the stove off if you must leave the room.

Keep appliances clean from grease build up and wipe up spills immediately.

Wear tight fitting sleeves.  Since loose sleeves and clothing can dangle too close to a hot stove and easily catch fire, protect yourself by wearing sleeves that fit snugly or roll them up while cooking.

Keep flammable objects away from the stove.  This includes potholders, paper products, and dish towels.

Don’t overload electrical outlets.  Too many appliances can overload the electrical system and cause a fire.  If a wire is frayed or cracked, it should be replaced immediately.

Turn pot handles inward.  A pot handle sticking over the edge of your stove can be bumped in passing or grabbed by a child causing burn injuries.

Operate microwaves safely.  Remember the food can be very hot so use potholders to take food out of the microwave.  Avoid steam burns by opening food packages carefully.

Heat cooking oils slowly and never leave it unattended.

If a grease fire should occur, smother it with baking soda, a pot lid or use a fire extinguisher.  But never use water because it will make the fire larger and possibly cause burns to you.

Each year, kitchen fires kill hundreds of people and injure thousands more.  Many of these fires can be avoided by following these basic safety tips.   For more information, call the Hickory Fire Department at (828) 323-7420.