Thanksgiving means family, food and, statistically, fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires followed by Christmas day and eve.
In 2013, 1,550 cooking fires – mostly from frying food — ignited in the U.S., 230 percent above the daily average of fires. Unattended cooking was the leading contributor to fires and deaths, the association says.
Preparing and sharing food is such a big part of Thanksgiving that we’d like to help you prevent your food and celebration from going up in flames. Follow these NFPA tips on how to bake your cake and eat it, too, without the threat of fire.
NFPA Thanksgiving Fire Prevention Tips:
- Never leave food cooking on the stove unattended. If you must step away, turn off burners.
- Don’t let young children play near a hot stove. Use back burners whenever possible, and turn pan handles toward the back so curious little hands can’t grab them.
- Don’t leave your turkey cooking in the oven unintended. Grease can splatter and cause a blaze.
- Wear short sleeves or roll them up when cooking so they don’t catch fire.
- Tidy up before you start cooking. Clear the floor of toys, clothing and gift wrapping so your don’t trip.
- Stow chords from coffee pots and toasters far away from stove burners and out of reach of young hands.
- Store matches and fire starters in high cabinets away from children.
- Test smoke detectors before the holidays.
- Avoid using a hot oil turkey fryer, which the NFPA believes is unsafe even if used correctly outdoors. Fryers can tip and splatter causing burns and fires.
If a cooking fire does ignite, here’s what to do.
- If a pan on the stove catches fire, don’t move it. Instead, cover it with a lid or baking sheet and turn the burner off. Keep the lid on the fire is out and the lid is cool.
- Never fight a grease fire with water. If covering it doesn’t extinguish it, pour lots of baking soda on it.
- If a fire starts in your oven, keep the door closed and turn off the heat. If it doesn’t go out, leave the house and call 911.
Most fire injuries are caused when people try to fight fire themselves. If you can’t easily put out the fire, spray it with the home fire extinguisher you should always have – and know how to operate — in your kitchen. If that doesn’t work, round up everyone and leave. When you’re safely outside, call 911.