November 20, 2020 – With Thanksgiving comes crowded kitchens with people working overtime to get meals ready for their families. The Nation Fire Protection Association and National Fire Incident Reporting System released data that shows the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries is cooking. U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 166,100 homes every year involving cooking equipment and Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires that involve cooking equipment. On Thanksgiving day, there are four times the average number of home fires occurring. Ranges and cooktops account for nearly three out of every five home fires reported, and ovens account for 13% of those fires.
“The global pandemic has taken center stage, but fire safety is just as important. Clean your cooking equipment thoroughly and have them inspected by a professional if you notice anything that seems out of the ordinary. It’s easy to get distracted when there are family members over, so set a timer to remind yourself if anything is cooking in the kitchen,” said State Fire Marshal Matt Perez.
Here are some tips from the State Fire Marshal to keep in mind when preparing food:
• Never leave food that you are frying, boiling, grilling or broiling unattended! If you leave the kitchen, even for a short amount of time, turn off the stove.
• Frying a Turkey has become more popular in recent years.
o Make sure to not overfill oil in the fryer. Fill the pot you plan to use to fry the turkey with water and place the turkey in. This will help to determine how much oil is needed without causing oil to spill out when you are ready to fry, which could lead to a fire.
o Use the turkey fryer outdoors ONLY!
o Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before frying.
o Use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms when you handle the pot!
• Create a “Kid Free Zone” of at least three feet around the stove or anywhere you are preparing hot food or drinks.
• Keep the area around the stove clear of towels, papers, potholders or anything that can burn
• If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you when food is ready.
• If there is a fire in the oven, keep the door shut and turn off the heat.
• Smother small flames in a pan by sliding a lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and leave the lid over the pan while it cools.
• If you have any doubt fighting a small fire, just get out! Call 9-1-1 or your emergency number from outside the home.