Fire officials talk kitchen safety ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

OCEAN CITY, Md. – With Thanksgiving just days away, fire officials are reminding folks to stay safe while getting stuffed. Ocean City fire personnel say they typically see an up tick in stove and oven fires on Turkey Day.

“Everyone’s cooking, baking, family and friends are there. There are a lot of distractions. So, we see a lot of combustible materials that get left by the stove if someone gets distracted, such as a kitchen towel,” said Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Deputy Allison Lecates. “We have learned that newer model homes and fires these days burn faster and hotter than they did years before.”

Another holiday hazard, says Lecates, is injuries from slicing, dicing, roasting, and toasting in the kitchen.

“We also see a lot of burns with the oven. If you have children too close to it, they could obviously get burned very easily. If things in the oven are too hot, we’ll burn injuries with that as well, if people are trying to remove or add more things to the oven,” said Lecates. “Keeping the knives in a safe spot, away from children, is very important to avoid any sort of cut injuries or things like that.”

Keys to safety include keeping flammable materials away from burners, setting timers so you don’t forget any food that’s cooking, and keeping small children and pets at least three feet away from the stove or oven. You should also make sure all pots and pans on the stove have their handles turned in. And, it’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand.

Lecates says if you can’t keep the little ones from wandering into the kitchen, give them a distraction. “Give them some other jobs, whether it be in the dining room, or give them a fun Thanksgiving activity to do to keep them away from the kitchen. If there are kids in there, just make sure there’s an adult close by at all times, and keep them at least three feet away from the stove and the oven,” she said.

Even if you’re a grown-up, Lecates says you should also probably stay out of the kitchen, unless you’re cooking.

“This year, we’re going to hopefully see bigger family gatherings with friends and everyone coming together,” said Lecates. “So, that means we just need to be even more mindful of what we have going on in the kitchen, and keep as many people out of the kitchen as possible. Only the ones that are in there to help cook need to be in there.”

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Maryland, Virginia