Archived Story

Home-cooking fire rates rise over Thanksgiving

Published 12:22pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Some residents will undoubtedly tip the scales during the Thanksgiving holiday, but according to a press release by the National Fire Protection Association home-cooking fires will rise with the pounds.

The press release, issued Nov. 16, says that Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home-cooking fires, “with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving” than any other day during the year. In 2010, there were 1,370 fires on Thanksgiving.

The NFPA said that home cooking fires peak on major U.S. holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Christmas Eve and Easter. Officials within the organization said that the fires are to blame because of the amount of cooking that takes place within homes.

In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 156,400 home fires involving cooking. The fires causes 420 deaths, over 5,000 injuries and caused a nearly $1 billion impact in direct property damage.

“Thanksgiving is a fun, festive holiday, but it’s also very hectic,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for NFPA. “All the entertaining and distractions make it easy to forget about what’s cooking on the stovetop.”

NFPA recommends the following safety tips: 

- Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

- When simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

- Stay alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

- Keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains away from the stovetop.

 If you have a cooking fire…

- Just get out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

- Call 911 or the local emergency number from outside the home.

- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear path out of the home, and that someone has called the fire department.

- Keep a lid nearby when cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.