Unattended cooking fires: Know what to do!

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- In 2012, Misawa Fire and Emergency Services responded to five fires between the months of January and March. Just two months into 2013, the fire department has already responded to four fires in base housing. The common factor identified in all Misawa Air Base fires shows an increasingly dangerous trend. They were caused by unattended cooking, the leading cause of home fires.

Here are some safety tips to prevent a potential cooking fire in your home.

· Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don't use the oven or stovetop.
· Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen,
even for short period of time, turn off the stove.
· If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
· Keep anything that can catch fire such as, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains away from your stovetop.
· Keep the stovetop, oven and burners clean.

· When in doubt; just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
· Call 9-1-1 or 0176-53-1911, the local emergency number, after you leave.
· If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
· Keep a lid nearby when you're 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.

Unattended cooking, while easily preventable, is the leading cause of home fires. It is important to adopt safe cooking practices and be smart while cooking in the kitchen.
For more information about home safety call the Fire Prevention office at 226-4055.