Cook, Don’t Be Cooked: Preventing Thanksgiving Fires

BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — As Thanksgiving and the general December holiday season approach, many of us will be drawn into our kitchens to help prepare a holiday meal for those we love. However, whenever it comes to cooking, it’s good to consider fire safety – and as figures from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) indicate, it’s even more important to think about it the thanksgiving day.

It turns out that Thanksgiving Day is more than a day of celebration: it’s also the first day of the year for kitchen fires. Three to four times more kitchen fires occur on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year.

Domestic cooking, in itself, is already the leading cause of residential building fires and reported civilian injuries, as well as the second leading cause of civilian fire deaths and direct property damage on average between 2015 and 2019. During the Thanksgiving Day in 2019, about 1,400 household kitchen fires were reported to US fire departments, more than double the average daily amount.

“Thanksgiving is a hectic holiday, with multiple dishes cooking and baking at the same time, and lots of guests, entertainment, and other distractions at home that can cause you to lose track of what’s on the stove or in the oven. ,” NFPA Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy Lorraine Carli said in a press release. “Unattended cooking is the number one cause of home kitchen fires, so we strongly encourage people to watch what they are cooking closely and minimize the risk of being distracted.”

Here are some tips from the NFPA to help you cook and avoid being baked this Thanksgiving.

  • When cooking a turkey, stay home at all times and check the turkey regularly.
  • Never leave the kitchen when cooking on a stove. Certain types of cooking (especially those involving frying or sautéing in oil) require constant attention.
  • Make good use of timers, whether kitchen timers or phone timers, to track all cooking times (especially dishes that require more cooking).
  • Keep all items that can catch fire, such as potholders, oven mitts, towels, wooden utensils, and food wrappers at least three feet from the cooking area. Wearing long sleeves and hanging fabrics should also be avoided.
  • Always cook with a lid next to your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the lid and allow the pan to cool for a long time – NEVER throw water or use a fire extinguisher on a cooking fire.
  • In the event of a fire in the oven, extinguish the fire and keep the door closed. Only open the door if you are sure the fire has gone out and stand to the side while you do so. If you have any concerns, contact your local fire department.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the stove. Children should also stay away from hot foods and liquids while cooking, as they can be burned by steam or splashes of hot liquid.

For more information on fire prevention, visit the NFPA website.