By Bailey Breeding,
Community Relations Intern

The holiday season is upon us. Along with family and celebration comes more cooking during this time of year. While cooking is a huge part of the holiday season for most people, it is important to remember to stay safe while in the kitchen.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of home fires in the United States start in the kitchen. When using the stove top, stay in the kitchen so you are able to keep an eye on the food that is cooking. Keep items that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging and towels away from the stove. If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, it is key to check it regularly and remain home while food is cooking.

When cooking foods that take a while, such as something baking in the oven, use timers to remind you. Check in regularly to help prevent food from burning and to ensure that everything in the kitchen is good.
Most children want to help out in the kitchen, but keeping them safe should be a priority. Ensure that knives, matches and utility lighters are out of reach of children. Have a “kid-free” zone around the stove that extends three feet. Setting up activities such as games and puzzles for kids can keep them occupied and out of harm’s way in the kitchen.

Along with all of these tips, you should check smoke alarms to make sure they’re functioning properly. Smoke alarms should be tested once a month and replaced every ten years. In the kitchen, smoke alarms should be placed at least ten feet away from cooking appliances to prevent nuisance alarms. Make sure that everyone knows what a smoke alarm sounds like and what to do in the event of a fire.
Holidays are a time of joy and time to come together with friends and family. While this time of year can also be stressful, staying safe can help the holidays go smoothly. Have a happy and safe holiday season from everyone at RVFD!

Finally, if we can assist you in any way with your smoke alarms, please don’t hesitate to call us. We also offer a free wildfire home assessment program to help you gear up for the dry season. Give us a call at (520) 647-3760 to set up a home assessment or a smoke alarm check. We are always happy to discuss safety with you (residents must reside in the district and within the Wildland Urban Interface to be eligible for a home assessment).

Bailey grew up in Vail and graduated from Andrada Polytechnic High School. She is interning at RVFD, where she is working on safety education outreach, while obtaining a degree in fire science. Bailey loves coaching volleyball and hiking in Arizona.

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