Did you know that Thanksgiving is one of the leading days of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment? A cooking fire is three times more likely on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. The Lebanon Fire Department urges you to review the following safety information to ensure a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday!
Thanksgiving by the numbers
- Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
- In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.
- Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
- Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
Thanksgiving Safety Facts
Many home cooking fires are caused by unattended equipment, abandoned material, a heat source left too close to flammable materials, product misuse and cooking equipment that is not properly turned off.
The use of turkey fryers – which use a large amount of cooking oil at high temperatures – also poses a significant danger and can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends seeking out grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants for preparation or using new “oil-less” turkey fryers.
Fifty-five percent of civilians injured in home fires involving cooking equipment were hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves.
If you have a cooking fire, please go outside and call 9-1-1 for the help of your local fire fighters.
Thanksgiving is also a high time for cooking related burns. To prevent scalds and burns, cook on back burners and make sure all pot handles are turned inward so children don’t come into contact with them. Appliances that get hot, such as toaster ovens, should also be well out of a child’s reach. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared or carried.
Quick Safety Tips
- 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 a candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
More Thanksgiving Safety Resources
- NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment" report
- Download NFPA's “Kids in the Kitchen” guide for ideas on what different age groups can do around the kitchen as you prepare your holiday meal.
- Send a Sparky Thanksgiving e-Card
- NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers.