As Thanksgiving fast approaches, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is urging everyone to use added caution when celebrating the holiday, as Thanksgiving Day represents the leading day for home cooking fires. More than three times as many cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day as a typical day of the year. “Thanksgiving is a hectic holiday that involves lots of cooking and distractions, which can make it easy to lose sight of what’s on the stove and in the oven,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires, so we strongly encourage people keep a close eye on what they’re cooking and to minimize the likelihood of getting distracted.” According to NFPA data, cooking was the leading cause of reported home structure fires and civilian fire injuries and the second-leading cause of civilian fire deaths and direct property damage, on annual average from 2015 to 2019. On Thanksgiving Day alone, an estimated 1,400 home cooking fires were reported to U.S. fire departments in 2019, reflecting a 228 percent increase over the daily average. “The good news is that the vast majority of cooking fires are preventable with a little added awareness,” said Carli. “By taking simple steps and precautions to minimize the likelihood of having a cooking fire, everyone can enjoy a festive, fire-safe Thanksgiving.” Following are tips and recommendations from NFPA for cooking safely this Thanksgiving:
- Never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Some types of cooking, especially those that involve frying or sautéing with oil, need continuous attention.
- When cooking a turkey, remain at home and check it regularly.
- Make use of timers to keep track of cooking times, particularly for foods that require longer cook times.
- Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels at least three feet away from the cooking area.
- Avoid long sleeves and hanging fabrics that can come in contact with a heat source.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Only open the door once you’re confident the fire is completely out, standing to the side as you do. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact the fire department for assistance.
- Keep children at least three feet away from the stove. Kids should also stay away from hot foods and liquids, as steam or splash from these items could cause severe burns.
In addition, NFPA strongly discourages the use of turkey fryers, as these can lead to severe burns, injuries, and property damage. For a safe alternative, NFPA recommends grocery stores, food retailers, and restaurants that sell deep-fried turkey. For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resources, please visit the NFPA press room. NFPA: 125 Years of Protecting People and Property The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards. The association began its work to solve the fire problem in a young, industrialized nation in 1896 and has since become a global force known for advancing safety worldwide. NFPA delivers information and knowledge through more than 325 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach, and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. In celebration of its 125th Anniversary, NFPA is hosting a Conference Series and other initiatives that reflect the association’s steadfast commitment to advancing fire and life safety for the next 125 years and beyond. For more information or to view NFPA codes and standards for free, visit www.nfpa.org. -30-