Cooler weather and change in leaf color remind us that Fall season has arrived with anticipation of the upcoming holidays. As you take time to be thankful this Thanksgiving holiday, also take some time to think about safety in the kitchen while preparing that Thanksgiving meal.
According to the National Fire Institute Reporting System (NFIRS), the average number of residential building fires reported from 2014 -2016 on Thanksgiving Day was doubled that than other days of those years. Nearly half of those fires on Thanksgiving Day occurred from 10 AM – 4 PM as opposed to when residential building fires typically occurring between 5 – 8 PM. This time difference in fires most likely reflects the period of time during meal preparation along with extended cooking periods on Thanksgiving Day. More than 70% of the fires on Thanksgiving Day were related to cooking versus 50% of the fires being related to cooking at other times of the year.
The following guidelines are recommended by the The National Fire Protection Agency for safely cooking:
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking to keep a close eye on the food, especially when frying and sautéing with oil.
- 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 that you can hear them over music, football games, and party chatter.
- Stay alert and focused when cooking. To help minimize the risk of injury, avoid cooking when drinking alcohol or if you’re sleepy.
- Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers and towels away from the cooking area.
Kids should stay 3 feet away from stovetops, as well as from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, or gravy could cause serious burns.
Frying turkeys at Thanksgiving has become more popular in recent years. However, NFPA discourages the use of turkey fryers, as they can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and the destruction of property due to the extensive amount of hot oil used with fryers. NFPA urges those who prefer fried turkey to look instead 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. General cooking safety information including safety tip sheets, infographics, videos and more can be found on NFPA’s Cooking Fire Safety Central webpage.
The “Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment” report also provides home fire cooking statistics for other holidays such as Christmas, Christmas Eve, and the New Year.
For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resource, please visit the NFPA press room.