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by Abigail Van Buren

Man of Former Big Girth Should Not Give Fat Women Wide Berth

DEAR ABBY: Recently I left a pot of rice on the stove too long. By the time I remembered it, the pot was smoking. Last week, a friend of mine accidentally started a grease fire in her kitchen. I heard many tragic news reports over the holidays about Christmas trees causing fires and heartbreak in what should have been a joyful season.

Abby, I'd like to pass on a suggestion that was made to me after my close call with the rice: Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. The new ones are inexpensive and come with easy-to-follow instructions. Learn how to use it as soon as you get it home, then put it in plain sight. If you buy only one, the kitchen is the best place to keep it.

I have decided to purchase fire extinguishers as gifts for the weddings, housewarmings and graduations I know I'll be invited to this year. What better way to say, "I care about you"?

Thanks, Abby, for printing my letter and for the love and concern you have shown for others over the years. -- WISER NOW

DEAR WISER: Thank you for a practical suggestion that may save lives. Fire extinguishers should not be considered a replacement for smoke detectors, but rather as an additional important tool for home fire prevention.