As people start their Thanksgiving cooking this year, please keep fire safety in mind, the National Fire Protection Association urges.
Thanksgiving Day is the most common day for home cooking fires to break out in the U.S., according to the organization. On Thanksgiving Day in 2021, fire departments across the U.S. reported receiving about triple the number of daily home cooking fires compared to the daily average. (Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are the second- and third-most risky.)
It’s easy to get distracted while cooking Thanksgiving dinner, but staying focused on what you’re doing and not leaving those pots unattended are critical matters of safety, says Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy at the National Fire Protection Association.
“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,” she says. “With all these factors at play, it’s not surprising that the number of cooking fires spikes so dramatically.”
Here are a few of the association’s tips and recommendations to stay safe while cooking this Thanksgiving:
- Never leave the kitchen when something is cooking on the stovetop.
- Stay at home, while you’re cooking turkey. Check it regularly.
- Use timers, especially for dishes with longer cooking times.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from kitchen heat sources.
- Store hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges.
- Store oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, towels and other flammable materials at least three feet away from the cooking area. Keep long sleeves and hanging fabrics away from heat sources.
- Keep a lid beside your pan at all times.
- To stop a small grease fire, smother the flames by sliding the lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Keep it covered and let the pan cool for a long time.
- To stop an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Only open the oven when you are sure the fire is completely out, and stand to the side as you do so. Contact the fire department for help if you have any doubts.
- Turkey fryers that use cooking oil are highly discouraged, as the oil can cause devastating burns. Consider buying your fried turkey from a grocery store or using an oil-free fryer instead.