According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more home fires on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. Nationwide, firefighters respond to three times the normal number of incidents they usually do.
And the number one place where most of these fires start is in the kitchen. With multiple dishes cooking on all the burners, the turkey baking in the oven, doorbell ringing, family and friends arriving – it’s easy to see how people get distracted and accidents can happen.
If a fire does start, the experts agree that one of the worst things you can do is try to put it out yourself. You could be injured or cause the fire to become worse.
The popularity of deep-fried turkey has greatly increased the number of fires that occur on Thanksgiving. Deep fried turkeys are boiled at searing temperatures in up to five gallons of hot oil. The fryers are designed to operate at a temperature of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but that temperature can soar to as high as 670 degrees. If this happens, the oil can literally bursts into flames.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers these safety tips:
- Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing while preparing a meal. Dangling sleeves or excess material can easily catch fire.
- Check cooking food regularly and stay in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a way to remember food is either on the stove or in the oven.
- Keep combustible items, such as pot holders/oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper/plastic bags, towels and curtains away from surfaces that generate heat. This includes appliances as well as the stove and oven.
- Be sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand and read the directions well in advance of any potential emergency so that you are ready to use it at a moment’s notice.
- Install a smoke alarm on each level on the home making sure there is one in close proximity to the kitchen.
- Keep children away from cooking areas being sure they remain at least three feet away from the stove.
- If there is a fire inside the oven, shut off the oven and leave the door shut. Call 9-1-1 and report the fire and leave the home until firefighters arrive.
- If a stove fire occurs, immediately shut off the stove and cover the burning pan/burner with a lid or use a fire extinguisher. Do not attempt to move a burning pan outside and do not throw flour, water, salt or any other substance on the fire as these can cause the fire to flare up.
- Gas or propane stoves are a common source of carbon monoxide in the home. If you are cooking for several hours, a build-up of carbon monoxide may occur so be sure to run vents you may have in the kitchen and open windows/doors in the kitchen at least once each hour to allow fresh air to circulate.