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Home cooking fires peak on Thanksgiving; Stay safe with these tips

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Posted at 10:47 AM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 14:26:41-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking-related fires, and research shows unattended cooking was by far the top contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

On Thanksgiving Day in 2015, fire departments in the United States responded to approximately 1,760 home cooking fires, a report from NFPA said. Home cooking fires also tend to increase on the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

Protect your home, your family and yourself by following NFPA’s safety tips for holiday cooking:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

NFPA also strongly discourages the use of turkey fryers (see video below).

If you do plan to use a turkey fryer, the Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following safety tips:

  • Use turkey fryers outside only and away from your home.
  • Never use a turkey fryer in a garage or on a porch.
  • Completely thaw and dry turkey before cooking
  • Do not overfill the oil in the turkey fryer.
  • If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn gas supply OFF.
  • Never leave the turkey fryer unattended.

Rocky Mountain Power offered the following safety tips for handling electrical appliances as you’re preparing your Thanksgiving feast:

  • DON’T fight a grease or electrical fire with water. Smother the fire with a pot lid and always have a fire extinguisher available.
  • DON’T overload your electrical outlets.
  • DO unplug any unused appliances that could accidentally be turned and left on.
  • DO replace any appliances with frayed cords to avoid electrical shock.
  • DO locate all appliances away from the sink. Remember, water and electricity do not mix.
  • DON’T use extension cords with major appliances.