SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — While preparing Thanksgiving feasts this holiday season, the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) asks people to be cautious as Thanksgiving Day is the leading day of the year for home cooking fires.
According to the NFPA between three and four times as many cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving Day compared to a typical day of the year.
“Thanksgiving is a hectic holiday, with multiple dishes cooking and baking at the same time, along with lots of guests, entertaining, and other distractions in the home that can make it easy to lose sight of what’s on the stove or in the oven,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires, so we strongly encourage people keep a close eye on what they’re cooking and to minimize the likelihood of getting distracted.”
From 2015 to 2019 data from the NFPA shows that cooking was the leading cause of reported home fires and fire injuries. Data also shows that cooking was the second-leading cause of fire deaths and direct property damage.
1,400 house cooking fires were reported to the U.S. fire department on Thanksgiving in 2019.
“The good news is that the vast majority of cooking fires are preventable,” said Carli. “By taking simple steps and precautions to minimize the likelihood of having a cooking fire, everyone can enjoy a festive, fire-safe Thanksgiving.”
- Never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Some types of cooking, especially those that involve frying or sautéing with oil, need continuous attention.
- When cooking a turkey, remain at home and check it regularly.
- Make use of timers to keep track of cooking times, particularly for foods that require longer cook times.
- Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers and towels at least three feet away from the cooking area.
- Avoid long sleeves and hanging fabrics that can come in contact with a heat source.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Only open the door once you’re confident the fire is completely out, standing to the side as you do. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact the fire department for assistance.
- Keep children at least three feet away from the stove. Kids should also stay away from hot foods and liquids, as steam or splash from these items could cause severe burns.
NFPA also recommends that people should not use turkey fryers that use cooking oil because they can cause serious burns. Instead, NFPA recommends buying a fryer that does not use oil or getting a fried turkey from the grocery store or restaurant instead.