Cooking with Caution

More than 50% of the fires that occur at Hickam Communities are a result of unattended cooking. Unattended cooking is the number one avoidable cause of a fire. Here are a few tips to help you reduce the risk of a cooking fire:

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…

  • 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.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • 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.

Click here to view a short video about cooking safety.


Do you know how to use your fire extinguisher in case of an emergency? Take the opportunity to learn how by clicking on the link below.

What you need to know about your fire extinguisher

Each home is equipped with a working fire extinguisher in case of emergency. Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke. To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS…

PULL the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.

AIM low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

SQUEEZE the lever slowly and evenly.

SWEEP the nozzle from side-to-side. For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.

Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory. Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.

Click here to view a training video on how to use a portable fire extinguisher.