On Thanksgiving Day, the threat of having a fire in the kitchen TRIPLES! If you think about it, it makes sense. Cooking-related fires have topped the causes of home fires for years and Thanksgiving is arguably the busiest day for most home kitchens. What’s more, the kitchen isn’t just a place to prepare food or to eat. It’s often the centerpiece of the home, where people come together to tell stories and find comfort with their friends and family around them.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “From 2009 through 2011, there was an average of about 1,300 cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day…This is more than three times the average daily rate from 2009 through 2011 of about 400 cooking fires a day.”

Don’t become a statistic. Keep fire safety in the forefront this Thanksgiving and throughout the year. Here are some fire safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on stovetops. If you leave the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  2. When cooking turkey – stay home and check on it often.
  3. Keep anything that can catch fire – Thanksgiving decorations, potholders, utensils, food wrappers or curtains – away from the stove top.
  4. Make sure sleeves are out of the way when cooking. Wear tighter fitting clothing with shorter sleeves.
  5. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food is prepared or carried.
  6. Turn the handles of pots and pans on the stove inward to avoid accidents.
  7. Have a fire extinguisher available not more than 10 feet from the stove, on the exit side of the room. Make sure that you know how to use your fire extinguisher.
  8. Keep floors clear so you don’t trip over toys, shoes, bags, etc.
  9. According to the CPSC, since 2003, there have been more than 125 turkey-fryer related fires, burns, explosions, smoke inhalations, or lacerations incidents: only use a turkey fryer OUTSIDE and away from your home – never in a garage or on your porch! Also, don’t overfill the oil or leave the fryer unattended.
  10. According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) President, Jim Shannon, approximately three out of five home fire deaths happen in homes that do not have smoke alarms or that have smoke alarms that are not working. Be sure to install smoke alarms in your home and to change the batteries at least once a year. Also, test the alarms monthly to make sure they are working. As Jim Shannon says, “Smoke alarms save lives. Having working smoke alarms cut the chances of dying in a fire in half.”

We hope that you find these tips useful. For more tips, please check out the Thanksgiving Safety tip sheet from NFPA or the video below.

Have a very Happy & Safe Thanksgiving!

By Jeff Harrington