Whether you’re prepping your Thanksgiving meal in advance or that day, it’s important to be responsible when cooking to avoid injuries and fires in the kitchen.
According to a recent report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking was the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States and the second leading cause of home fire deaths between 2014–2018.
During those years, cooking caused an average of 172,900 reported home structure fires per year which resulted in an average of 550 civilian deaths and 4,820 civilian injuries.
The NFPA reported Thanksgiving was the leading day for home cooking fires (with Christmas Day coming in second) with an average of 1,630 fires in 2018. That year, firefighters responded to an average of 740 home cooking fires the day before Thanksgiving.
So what can you do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in the kitchen? Here are some helpful tips:
- Never leave the kitchen while cooking on your stove as some types of food with oil need constant attention
- Keep a lid next to pans in the event of a fire. If a fire ignites, place the lid over the pan, turn off the burner and wait for the pan to cool
- If a fire ignites in your oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Do not open the door until you know the fire is out
- Keep items like pot holders, oven mitts, wooden or plastic cooking utensils away from your stove and other appliances as they can catch fire
- Don’t wear loose clothing or big sleeves while cooking
- Keep kids and pets at least three feet away from all cooking areas as steam and hot spills can cause hot burns
- If frying your turkey, never leave it unattended and do so outdoors in an open area