SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Home fires claim seven lives each day, and cooking is the main cause.

That’s why the American Red Cross of Georgia has compiled a list of preventative measures for the house chef.

“The top reason for cooking fires is someone leaving the stove unattended while cooking,” said Erin Stephens, regional disaster officer for the American Red Cross of Georgia.

  1. Never leave food that you’re frying, grilling or boiling unattended.
    • Stay in the kitchen and if you leave for a short period of time turn the stove off.
  2. Don’t wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking around open flames.
  3. Simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food should be checked regularly.
  4. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
    • Luckily, timers are readily available on smartphones
  5. Always keep kids and pets away from the cooking area, they should stay at least three feet away from a stove.
  6. Items that can catch on fire like potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains away from any appliance that generates heat.
  7. regularly clean kitchen surfaces to avoid grease build-up.
  8. If you don’t have one already, consider purchasing a fire extinguisher.
  9. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
  10. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas and inside and outside of your bedrooms.
    • Regularly check smoke alarms each month and replace the batteries at least once a year.

If you are unable to purchase or install smoke alarms, the Red Cross is offering help.

“Cooking brings family and friends together, but this normal, everyday activity can also lead to disaster,” said Stephens. “In fact, cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. To help keep your loved ones safe, it’s important to stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking.”