Since home cooking fires occur most frequently on Thanksgiving Day, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that people exercise extra caution on this day.
On Thanksgiving Day in 2021, fire departments in the United States received approximately 1,160 reports of home cooking fires, which is a 297 percent increase compared to the daily average, according to the NFPA.
“Thanksgiving is a hectic holiday with multiple dishes cooking and baking at the same time, along with lots of guests, entertaining and other distractions 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. “With all these factors at play, it’s not surprising that the number of cooking fires spikes so dramatically.”
In the United States, cooking is the number one cause of injuries and fires in the home.
Cooking fires and fire deaths are most commonly caused by unattended cooking, according to the NFPA.
“Keeping a close eye on what’s cooking and minimizing the likelihood of getting distracted are key steps people can take to ensure a festive, fire-free holiday,” said Carli.
To stay safe in the kitchen NFPA has suggested following these tips:
- When using a stovetop to prepare food, never leave the kitchen. Certain cooking techniques, particularly those involving oil-based frying or sautéing, require constant attention
- Stay at home and keep an eye on your turkey while it’s cooking
- Use timers to record cooking times, especially for foods that take longer to prepare
- Store flammable items such as towels, wooden utensils, oven mitts, and food wrappers three feet or more away from the cooking area
- Steer clear of hanging fabrics and long sleeves that may come into contact with a heat source
- A minimum of three feet should separate children and pets from the stove and any areas where hot food or beverages are prepared or transported
- Place hot items and liquids away from the edges of the table and counter
The NFPA strongly advises against using cooking oil-based turkey fryers because they can result in severe burns.
The NFPA suggests getting a fryer that doesn’t use oil or getting a fried turkey from a restaurant or grocery store as a safe substitute.
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