Before you start prepping your big Thanksgiving, you should prepare yourself with some important safety tips to keep you and your family safe. As it turns out Thanksgiving Day is a dangerous time - it's the "leading day of the year for home cooking fire," according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The Staggering Statistics

Thanksgiving Day involves more home-cooking fires than any other day of the year. In 2021 alone there were an estimated 1,160 reported home cooking fires across the United States on Thanksgiving Day. That's a 297% jump over the average number of home cooking fires any other day of the year.

“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.”
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Cooking is the number one cause of home fires and injuries across America. There are plenty of precautions you can take to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.

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Skip the Fryer

According to the National Fire Protection Association using a fryer with oil to cook your Thanksgiving turkey is incredibly dangerous and they strongly advise against it. The hot oil can cause "devastating burns." If you prefer the taste of a fried turkey, the National Fire Protection Association recommends that you buy one from a grocery store or restaurant, or they say to use a fryer that does not use oil.

Don't Walk Away from the Stove

While cooking on the stovetop, it's crucial never to leave the kitchen unattended, especially if you are frying or sautéing with oil. These cooking methods require constant supervision. When cooking a turkey, ensure you stay at home and regularly check its progress. Use timers for dishes that require longer cooking times.

Keep a Safe Distance

Maintain a safe distance of at least three feet between your cooking area and potential fire hazards, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels. Don't wear clothing with long sleeves or hanging fabrics that might come into contact with heat sources.

Keep a Lid Handy

Always have a lid ready next to your pan when cooking. In the event of a small grease fire, promptly smother the flames by sliding the lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Avoid removing the cover immediately to prevent reignition and allow the pan to cool for an extended period. Whatever you do, do not attempt to douse the fire with water.

What To Do If There's an Oven Fire

In the case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Open the door cautiously once you are confident the fire is completely extinguished, standing to the side. If any uncertainties or concerns arise, seek assistance from the fire department.

Keep Children and Pets Away

Maintain a safe environment for children and pets by keeping them at least three feet away from the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are being prepared or carried. Additionally, position hot foods and liquids away from the edges of tables and counters.

Remember PASS When Using a Fire Extinguisher

  • PULL (Pull the pin)
  • AIM (Aim it at the BASE of the fire)
  • SQUEEZE (Gently squeeze the handle)
  • SWEEP (Sweep the spray from side to side over the BASE of the fire)

If you are making Thanksgiving dinner at home, implement these safety tips to ensure a safe, and enjoyable holiday with your family.

[Source: National Fire Protection Association]

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