Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and fried food. But all that cooking can lead to disaster--kitchen fires are a serious threat to your health and safety, not to mention the quality of your bird.

Prevent Cooking Fires this Thanksgiving

As we gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving, Temple Fire & Rescue along with other safety organizations remind you to practice safe cooking habits.

In the United States, home fires nearly double on Thanksgiving Day.  According to information published in 2012 by the United States Fire Administration (USFA), the average number of reported residential building fires was1.9 times more compared to any other day of the year.  Cooking was the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings at 72 percent.  By comparison, cooking was the cause of 46 percent of residential building fires that occurred on all days of the year other than Thanksgiving Day.  These fires occur most frequently from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. when many people most likely were preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

While you’re preparing that favorite meal, please remember to:

  • Keep a close watch on your cooking.  Never leave cooking food unattended.
  • Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly.
  • Keep items which can burn – like potholders, food packaging, and towels away from burners and heat sources.
  • Have a "kid-free zone" of at least three-feet around the stove and areas where hot foods or drinks are prepared or carried.
  • Keep a lid nearby to smother a small grease fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

Deep-fried turkey has quickly grown in popularity.  If you use a turkey fryer, please remember the following tips:

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If not monitored, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds in weight.

Based on tests results conducted by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), they have decided not to certify any turkey fryers with the UL mark.

Additional safety information is available at:

US Fire Administration, www.usfa.dhs.gov, www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/snapshot_thanksgiving.pdf

National Fire Protection Association, www.nfpa.org

Underwriters Laboratories, www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/offerings/perspectives/consumer/productsafety/turkeys//

National Turkey Federation, www.eatturkey.com

Thanks to Tomas Pechal, PIO, for this media release.