NFPA Issues Home Cooking Fire Safety Reminder for Thanksgiving
“Knowing where potential cooking hazards exist and taking basic precautions to prevent them can go a long way toward ensuring a fire-safe holiday,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires in the United States, with more than three times as many home cooking fires that day as on any typical day of the year. As a result of the almost 250 percent increase in home cooking fires over the daily average, the organization is reminding people to be careful when cooking their turkeys this year.
"Thanksgiving is a festive but hectic holiday, where people are often preparing several dishes at once. They're also entertaining friends and family, with lots of other potential distractions," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA's vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. "These factors all contribute to the increased likelihood of home cooking fires and underscore the importance of being extra vigilant in the kitchen."
Cooking is the leading cause of reported home fires year-round, according to the NFPA. Cooking incidents account for 48 percent of all U.S. home fires and 45 percent of reported home fire injuries, and unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires and fire deaths, with 15 percent of those fatalities attributed to clothing ignitions.
Carli said staying aware of what's happening in the kitchen can help prevent fires on Thanksgiving. "Knowing where potential cooking hazards exist and taking basic precautions to prevent them can go a long way toward ensuring a fire-safe holiday," she said.
NFPA discourages the use of turkey fryers, as they can lead to horrific burns, other injuries, and property damage. Instead, NFPA suggests purchasing a deep-fried turkey from a grocery store, specialty food retailer, or a restaurant.
The organization offers the following recommendations for safely cooking your Thanksgiving feast this year:
- Never leave food cooking on the stovetop unattended, especially when frying and sautéing with oil. Stay in your home while the turkey is cooking and check on it frequently.
- Use a timer to keep track of cooking times, most notably when simmering, baking, or roasting foods that require longer cook times. Check the stove or oven frequently.
- Consider putting timers in different rooms so you can hear them over music and party chatter.
- Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels well away (a minimum of 3 feet) from the cooking area.
- Push up shirt sleeves and avoid wearing billowy clothing that may come in contact with open flames or other heat sources.
- Avoid cooking when drinking alcohol, using other substances, or if you're sleepy.
- Make sure children stay at least 3 feet away from all cooking areas, hot food, and liquids to avoid burns.