For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations.
So keeping fire safety in mind during this joyous but hectic time is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas day, and Christmas eve.
In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving. Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths. Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries and is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
Thanksgiving safety tips:
- Most cooking fires are the result of unattended cooking. While there are always distractions when hosting (guests arriving, appetizers to serve), don’t walk away from a stove or appliance in use.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen and make sure everyone in your family knows how to use it.
- Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing while cooking since the fabric can ignite. And be especially careful of your sleeves – make sure they’re short or tightly rolled.
- The stove can be a major source of carbon monoxide, especially if it’s being used for several hours at a time. Turn on your kitchen fan or vents, open windows periodically, and make sure your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are in good working order.
- If a fire starts in a pan on your stove, turn off the stove and cover the pan with a lid (or use your fire extinguisher to put it out). Never try to douse a stove fire with water, flour, or similar substances since they can cause a flare-up.
- In case of a fire in your oven, keep the door closed, and call 911. Stay out of the house until firefighters arrive.
- While deep-frying your turkey is delicious, it poses a number of safety hazards. Never use the fryer indoors, keep it at a safe distance from buildings and flammable objects, be sure your turkey is completely thawed and dry (oil and water don’t mix!), keep children and pets away, and be mindful of splashing or spattering oil.
- Never dispose of hot grease in the garbage. Instead, let it cool and then discard it in a covered metal can, like a coffee can.
- Before going to bed, make sure the oven, turkey fryer, and stove burners are off; candles are extinguished; and the chimney damper (if you have a fireplace) is open.