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State Fire Marshal Sink Urges Floridians to Be Safe This Thanksgiving

11/25/2009

CONTACT: Kevin Cate or Jennifer Hirst, (850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE - Florida CFO and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink today called on families across Florida to include fire safety in their recipes this holiday, as Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires nationwide.  In Florida, cooking fires caused 32 percent of all residential fires in 2008 and inflicted an estimated $40 million dollars in damages.

“Given that cooking is the number one known cause of house fires in our state, I encourage all Floridians to be safe this Thanksgiving,” said CFO Sink. “Floridians can follow a few simple tips to ensure that their Thanksgiving is about celebrating with friends and family, not calling their local fire department.”

Nationwide, firefighters responded to roughly 1,300 home fires involving cooking equipment on Thanksgiving in 2007, roughly three times the daily average of cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Florida State Fire Marshal Sink recommends the following cooking safety tips:

Cook with Caution
• Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don't use the stove or stovetop.
• Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a 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 - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains - away from your stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire….
• 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.
• If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
• When in doubt, just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
• Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave. 
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services and acts as Florida’s State Fire Marshal.  A successful businesswoman with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO.  As CFO, Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful government spending, cracking down on financial and insurance fraud and reforming the state government's contracting practices.