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Home safety critical in summer months

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- While many "think safety" on a long road trip or participating in "high risk" activities, home safety is just as important for the 101 Critical Days of Summer. 

It encompasses many areas including fire and accident prevention, children's safety and good food-handling practices. 

Something as simple as cooking a three-alarm chili can turn into a three-alarm fire, if people are not careful. 

"The biggest problem we have this year is unattended cooking," said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Pickett, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department assistant chief. "Never leave the stove while cooking. If you have to, turn off the burner and remove the pan from the stove." 

"Grilling is a summer-specific hazard. When cooking over an open flame, avoid hanging sleeves or anything that may catch on fire. Also store combustible fuels in a safe area," Sergeant Pickett said. 

Candles can also pose a fire hazard. 

"If you burn candles in your home, make sure they are away from curtains or anything that may ignite," Sergeant Pickett said. "Also remember to blow out candles when you leave your home." 

Home maintenance can be an accident waiting to happen if good safety practices aren't used. 

"When using a ladder for cleaning your gutters and home improvement projects, place the ladder on a level surface and have someone there to stabilize the ladder," said Tech. Sgt. Christine McGinley, 19th Airlift Wing ground safety technician. "We do occasionally have people who fall off ladders and break bones." 

Trips and falls in the home can also be easily prevented. 

"Regular housekeeping isn't just for making things look nice and clean, but also prevents accidents," Sergeant McGinley said. 

Children are also at risk of accidents in the home. Age-appropriate child-proofing is effective, but parental vigilance is also required. Cabinets should be locked and electrical outlets covered to prevent injury. Also keep cleaning products and medications in a high place out of reach of children. 

Something people may not always consider is food storage and handling. 

"Proper food handling is extremely important," said Sergeant McGinley. "Bacteria can grow on room temperature food so keep cold things cold and hot things hot. Use separate utensils for raw and cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination." 

Following these steps and using good common sense can help Combat Airlifters and their families stay safe this summer.

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