Reduce the Risk of Home Fires in Your Community This Thanksgiving, the Leading Day of the Year for Home Cooking Fires
Each year, anywhere from 3 to 4 times as many home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day as on a typical day, making it by far the leading day of the year for home cooking fires. This annual spike can largely be attributed to people cooking multiple dishes at once, along with other distractions that can make it easy to lose sight of what’s cooking on the stove and in the oven. Year-round, cooking is the leading cause (49 percent) of U.S. home fires, with unattended cooking serving as the leading cause.
Fortunately, these factors shouldn’t put a crimp in anyone’s Thanksgiving plans. Following simple safety precautions and guidelines can go a long way toward ensuring a fire-safe holiday.
As Thanksgiving nears, fire departments, public safety educators, and advocates are strongly encouraged to promote the following tips and recommendations, helping ensure that households prepare for and celebrate the holiday with fire safety in mind:
- Never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Some types of cooking, especially those that involve frying or sautéing with oil, need continuous attention.
- When cooking a turkey, remain at home and check it regularly.
- Make use of timers to keep track of cooking times, particularly for foods that require longer cook times.
- Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from the cooking area.
- Avoid long sleeves and hanging fabrics that can come in contact with a heat source.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Only open the door once you’re confident the fire is completely out, standing to the side as you do. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact the fire department for assistance.
- Keep children at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from the stove and oven. Kids should also stay away from hot foods and liquids, as steam or splash from these items could cause severe burns.
NFPA® strongly discourages the use of turkey fryers, as they can lead to severe burns, injuries, and property damage. Grocery stores, food retailers, and restaurants often sell deep-fried turkeys, which can serve as a safe alternative to frying one at home.
Visit our Thanksgiving fire safety page for more information, data, and resources, including social media cards and tip sheets, that can be shared with your community.