Remember safety when cooking

POLK COUNTY — With Thanksgiving just a few days away, State Fire Marshal Jim Walker is reminding Oregonians to keep fire safety front and center when cooking and preparing holiday meals.

"When friends and family gather at this festive time of year, don't let it be marred by tragedy," says Walker. "By following a few fire prevention tips, you can keep yourself and loved ones safe."

From 2011 through 2015, there were more than 4,000 cooking-related fires in Oregon causing nine deaths, 228 injuries, and more than $37 million in property loss.

Cooking safety tips:

• Keep a close eye on your cooking; never leave cooking food unattended.

• Keep your cooking area clean, including stovetop, burners, oven, and exhaust fan.

• Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, dishtowels, and food packaging away from your stovetop.

• Wear clothing that will not dangle onto stove burners and catch fire.

• Keep pot and pan handles turned inward on the stove to avoid bumping them and spilling hot foods.

• Heat cooking oil slowly and never leave it unattended.

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