The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year.
In 2010, there were 1,370 fires on Thanksgiving, a 219 percent increase over the daily average. Home cooking fires peak on major U.S. holidays that traditionally include cooking, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and Easter.
Overall, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 156,400 home fires involving cooking equipment in 2010. These fires caused 420 civilian deaths, 5,310 civilian injuries and $993 million in direct property damage. By recognizing the risks of the holidays and making simple adjustments, people can greatly reduce their chance of home cooking fires.
The Garden City Fire Department and the NFPA recommend the following safety tips:
- Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- When simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Stay alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stove top.
- Keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains away from the stove top.
- Fry your turkey outdoors, not indoors - As just one little mistake can instantly render your kitchen toast. Fry your turkey outdoors and far away from flammable structures like wooden decks or garages, so minor mishaps don't do major damage.
- Thaw your turkey before deep frying - If any part of the turkey is still frozen, the frozen matter will cause a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion.
- Stay with the turkey fryer at all times - This is not an oven that you can just walk away from for hours. Keep a close eye on the turkey fryer during the whole fry process so you can respond immediately to any snafus or unexpected developments.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call the fire department emergency number 746-2800 or 9-1-1 from outside the home.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear path out of the home, and that someone has called the fire department.
- Keep a lid nearby when cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stove top. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.