Keep you and loved ones safe with these holiday cooking tips - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Keep you and loved ones safe with these holiday cooking tips

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Carelessness in the kitchen can turn a holiday meal into a holiday mess, or worse. But, there are ways to keep things under control.

Whoever's doing the cooking this year knows it can be a lot of work. There's so much to keep track of, one little slip and all of a sudden things can take a dangerous turn.

"Around the holidays we cook a lot and the stove is on for continuous periods of time, and that's where we really see a huge increase in fires." -says Rockford Fire Department Division Chief Matthew Knott.

Knott says 40% of all home fires start in the kitchen. Those small flames can spread quickly.

"As a fire progresses, ultimately the stove catches on fire, the product in the pot or whatever's on there catches the cabinets on fire, and the heat builds up and builds up and ultimately everything flashes." -he says.

Firefighters and Red Cross workers can help. They say always keep an eye on what you're cooking. Don't step out of the house, have a friend or family member go get whatever you need. Make sure kids are away from danger, like hot food, liquids, or appliances, and always keep a fire extinguisher handy. Here are some other tips:

-Keep the floor clear so you don't trip over kids, toys, bags, or other items

-Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children

-Make sure your smoke alarms are working, test them every month and change the batteries twice a year

-Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup

Red Cross Rock River Chapter Executive Director Lisa LaSala has advice from her own family experiences.

"Turn your pot handles in so if there's somebody running by they don't turn the whole pot over and it's certainly important to keep away your pot holders and plastic wrap because that stuff's flammable as well." -she adds.

Even if you use all these safety measures, accidents could still happen, but the Red Cross has you covered. You can actually download the agency's First Aid App on your smartphone. It's got step-by-step advice for minor injuries like cuts or burns.

People can also download the Red Cross Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist to stay safe everyday, not just the holidays.

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