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State fire marshal urges Oregonians to follow safety tips while preparing food.

During the upcoming holidays, State Fire Marshal Jim Walker is reminding Oregonians to keep fire safety in mind when cooking and preparing holiday meals.

Cooking was the leading cause of residential structure fires over the past five years (2013-2017), causing an average of 19 percent of Oregon's total residential structure fires. On average, there are 533 cooking-caused residential structure fires per year.

"By following a few fire prevention and safety tips, you can help keep your family safer from the dangers of fire this holiday season," said Walker.

Cooking safety tips

- Keep a close eye on what you are cooking, heat cooking oil slowly, and never leave cooking food unattended. If you need to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove or set a timer.

- Have a "kid- and pet-free zone" of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot foods or drinks are prepared or carried.

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

If you have a cooking fire:

- Always keep a lid nearby to smother small fires. Smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and don't move the pan until it is completely cool.

- Never pour water on a grease fire; it can splatter the grease and spread the fire.

- When in doubt, get out! Call 911 after you leave.

Turkey fryer safety

The OSFM discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that cook the turkey in hot oil. The use of deep fat turkey fryers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and the destruction of property.

The OSFM urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out a professional establishment, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants, for the preparation of the dish, or consider an "oil-less" turkey fryer.

For more information on cooking safety, visit www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/Pages/cookingsafety.aspx.

For more information on general home fire safety, visit www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/pages/commed_firesafety_program.aspx.

Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are 10 years old or older.

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