The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially around the holidays, but it’s also the most common place for house fires to ignite. Thanksgiving is the number one day for home cooking fires. In 2016, fire departments across the US responded to about 1,570 home cooking fires on this day. The other peak times for kitchen fires include Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving.
Prevent your holiday cooking from sparking a disaster by following these eight fire prevention tips.
- Don’t leave cooking food unattended: This is, by far, the leading cause of home cooking fires. If you have something on the stove, remain in the kitchen where you can keep an eye on it. Also, don’t leave the house while a turkey, casserole, or other Thanksgiving dish is in the oven.
- Set a timer: You’ll likely be preparing multiple things at once on Thanksgiving, so set a timer for each one to prevent accidentally overcooking anything. Not only does this help prevent fire and smoke, but it also ensures your Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t get too crispy!
- Handle cooking grease properly: Heat oil slowly on the stove to avoid splattering. Also, keep pot handles turned inward to prevent bumping or spilling the hot contents. If a grease fire ignites, use salt or baking soda—not water—to extinguish the flames.
- Create a kid- and pet-free zone: The kitchen on Thanksgiving Day is a hectic place. The last thing you need is a child or pet underfoot while you’re handling hot casserole dishes. Prevent spills, splashes, and burns by keeping kids and animals out of the kitchen while you prepare the meal.
- Maintain your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers: First, make sure you have these fire safety devices on hand. Then, test the smoke alarm once a month and change the batteries twice a year. Inspect your fire extinguishers monthly as well, checking for any signs of tampering or damage.
- Keep flammable items away from hot surfaces: Start by tying back your hair and rolling up your sleeves. Next, remain vigilant about keeping hot pads, wooden spoons, food packaging, and other flammable items away from the stovetop, deep fat fryer, and other hot surfaces.
- Skip the turkey fryer: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discourages the use of outdoor gas-fired turkey fryers. These use a substantial amount of cooking oil at high temperatures, posing a serious risk of fire, burns, and property damage. Stick to an oven-baked turkey, professionally prepared fried turkey, or air-fried turkey.
- Store matches and lighters out of reach: Curious children may start fires of their own on Thanksgiving. Prevent this by storing matches and utility lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
A cooking fire may be a shock to the family, but with help from DKI Services, you can get your home back in order for the remainder of the holidays. Give us a call today to begin the fire restoration process.