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Cooking turkey? Don't burn down the house this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner
Posted at 12:22 PM, Nov 09, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — It's almost time for turkey, but the National Fire Protection Association is warning home chefs to use caution, as Thanksgiving has nearly three times the daily average of house fires.

“Thanksgiving is a hectic holiday with multiple dishes cooking and baking at the same time, along with lots of guests, entertaining, and other distractions that can make it easy to lose sight of what’s on the stove or in the oven,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA.

“With all these factors at play, it’s not surprising that the number of cooking fires spikes so dramatically.”

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and injuries and the second-leading cause of home fire deaths.

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of these fires, something that is largely preventable.

“Keeping a close eye on what’s cooking and minimizing the likelihood of getting distracted are key steps people can take to ensure a festive, fire-free holiday,” said Carli.

Here are some reminders about how to stay safe when enjoying the holidays with a home-cooked meal:

  • Never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stove, particularly when using hot oil or frying.
  • Check the turkey on a regular basis, and don't leave home when it's in the oven.
  • Use timers to stay alert of when items are in the oven.
  • Keep oven mitts, dish towels, and other flammable objects far from a cooking surface.
  • Make sure loose clothing isn't a conduit to a flame.
  • Have a lid beside a pot so that grease fires can be quickly extinguished.
  • Turn off the heat and keep the door closed to put out an oven fire.
  • Children and pets should not be near where hot food or drinks are prepared.

Turkey fryers using hot oil are a top culprit for Thanksgiving fires; consider an air fryer or purchase a fried turkey to enjoy at home.