FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Soldiers and Families staying home for the holidays shouldn't forget about being safe just because they're not traveling, said Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security officials.

Home safety is especially important during the holiday season for a number of reasons, said Joe Harris, DPTMS Operations Branch chief.

"We want everyone to be safe around the home," he said. "Some of the hazards you might have around the home can cause slips, trips and falls, cuts and other injuries."

Holiday cooking is a popular activity during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but cooking can also be risky for some residents, said Kenneth Harrell, Fort Rucker Fire Prevention Office inspector.

"Cooking fires cause 31 percent of the fires that occur in the household," he said. "Unattended cooking is the single leading factor in those fires. If you start something you need to stay with it. Don't turn it on and the just leave it."

Combustibles being too close to heat sources are another source of home fires, he added.
Frying is the top method of cooking that causes injury, Harrell said.

"More than half of injuries occurred when people tried to fight a fire themselves," he said. "There are a couple of methods for putting out a grease fire, but it's best to call 9-1-1. Most injuries occur when someone tries to put a fire out themselves. Never throw water on a grease fire."

While frying turkey is popular during Thanksgiving, it's not a safe - or Fort Rucker Fire Department endorsed activity.

"If you don't know how to use a turkey fryer properly, don't use one," Harrell said. "We do not recommend it as a way of preparing a turkey because fryers are dangerous."

Choosing the right equipment for cooking and knowing how to use it is a major factor in preventing cooking fires, Harrell said.

"Don't try to cook things too fast," he said. "Doing that will cause things to burn. Also, don't use the wrong equipment for the job. Don't do something like using a small grill to bake a cake."

Keeping things like portable heaters and candles away from furniture and curtains are also recommended as ways to prevent possible fires, he added.

It's also a good time to check smoke alarms and make sure they work properly, Harrell said.