NEW YORK - News 12 spoke with members of the Fire Safety Academy on how to avoid starting fires in the kitchen.

Lt. Anthony Mancuso, director of fire safety education and prevention at the FDNY, says smoke and flames in the kitchen make up about one-third of fatal fires in the city. Mancuso says grease fires are also common.

Firefighters recommend keeping baking soda in the kitchen, which is excellent for putting out grease fires. The lieutenant says you should also always have proper kitchen tools in order to ensure you can respond as quickly as possible in the event of flames. Using a lid and having a pot screen and oven mitts nearby are key preventative measures.

Another important tip to follow when cooking is to watch the items of clothing you wear. Loose-fitting clothing can be very dangerous, particularly when maneuvering around the stove.

Once finished cooking, thoroughly clean cooking utensils and pots. This prevents materials, food items or grease accumulations from igniting a fire in the future.