The Winston-Salem Fire Department is urging residents to be mindful in the kitchen.

According to the department, unattended cooking accounts for half of all house fires. These incidents most commonly happen when someone starts cooking, walks away, gets distracted, and forgets that a burner is on. Other incidents can be caused by putting paper products on a hot stove or accidentally turning on the wrong burner.

Winston-Salem officials are not seeing an uptick in fires - but they're not seeing a downtick either. Fire Chief Trey Mayo is concerned that the department hasn't been able to move the needle. One of the ways he's trying to get the word out is via a memorable slogan.

“As you'll see on some of our firetrucks, we have a little saying on the back of the fire truck that says 'Stand By Your Pan.' That's a takeoff on a song from decades gone by, but people using their stove need to stay in the kitchen and pay attention to what's going on.”

The chief recommends that every kitchen have a fire extinguisher handy, kept between the stove and the exit of the kitchen. 

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