NFPA: Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires

A release from the National Fire Protection Association says that Thanksgiving, a cooking-focused holiday, presents a large risk of home fires.

NFPA reports that there are nearly four times as many home cooking fires that happen on Thanksgiving, than those that happen on a typical day. Regardless of the date though, NFPA says that unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of these fires and fire deaths.

“The data suggests that it’s often a combination of factors that contribute to an increased risk of home cooking fires on Thanksgiving,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “People are preparing multiple dishes for many guests and there can be plenty of distraction in the home, which can make it all too easy to forget what’s on the stove. That’s when cooking mishaps are most likely to occur.”

The following tips from the NFPA can help reduce the risk of cooking fires on Thanksgiving, and in general:

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking to keep a close eye on the food, especially when frying and sautéing with oil.
  • Stay alert and focused when cooking. To help minimize the risk of injury, avoid cooking when drinking alcohol or if you’re sleepy.
  • Use a timer to keep track of cooking times, most notably when cooking a meal that takes a long time like roasting a turkey, baking a roast or simmering. Check the stove or oven frequently. Consider putting timers in different rooms so you can hear them over the music and party chatter.
  • Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers and towels away from the cooking area.

Thanksgiving is also the time when many people like to experiment with frying turkeys, however NFPA discourages the use of turkey fryers. These fryers can lead to burns and other injuries and the destruction of property because of the large amount and high temperature of oil used. NFPA asks that those who prefer fried turkey to look for grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants that sell deep fried turkeys.

Additional tips and resources can be found on NFPA’s Thanksgiving webpage. Other cooking safety information, including cooking safety tips sheet, cooking safety infographics, videos and more can be found on NFPA’s Cooking Fire Safety Central webpage.

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