Research by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows that, on Thanksgiving day, kitchen fires break out three times more often than the daily average.
This track record makes turkey day the most dangerous day of the year for home cooking fires — with Christmas Day and Christmas Eve in second and third.
But don’t worry…
With the right knowledge (and a few key household items), you can minimize your risk and keep your home and loved ones safe.
So, before you fire up the stove, check out these Thanksgiving cooking safety tips to prevent kitchen mishaps this holiday.
Before You Get Started…
With so much to do and so little time, it’s tempting to jump right in and start cooking. But when it comes to fire safety, prevention is the best medicine.
Here’s a list of Thanksgiving cooking safety tips to follow before getting started:
- Develop a plan of action for out-of-control house fires (evacuation, meet-up spots, calling emergency services, etc.). Share this plan with your family, get the kids involved, and practice it before Thanksgiving.
- Make sure your fire extinguisher is close by and ready to go in case a fire breaks out.
- Check all smoke alarms in your home, ensure they’re working properly, and add new batteries if necessary (they should be replaced every six months to a year).
- Move fire hazards away from the stove, oven, and microwave, such as paper products, oven mitts, cables, wires, dishtowels, bags, boxes, curtains, etc.
- Keep the kitchen floor free of clutter to avoid tripping.
- Don’t wear loose clothing — baggy clothes and hanging sleeves can catch fire when leaning over the stove.
- Clean your kitchen appliances before cooking with them. Old food debris can easily start a fire.
Now that you’ve made all the right safety preparations, it’s time to get started.
From the moment you turn on your kitchen appliances to when you plate your food, these Thanksgiving cooking safety tips will help you avoid accidents and keep your fire risk as low as possible:
- Whatever you do, don’t leave the stove/kitchen when cooking. According to the NFPA, unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires.
- Cooking with loved ones is one of the many joys of Thanksgiving. If your kids are old enough to safely participate, feel free to include them. But if they’re too young, make sure they stay a few feet away from hot kitchen appliances and never leave them alone in the kitchen when cooking.
- Make sure pets stay a few feet away from hot kitchen appliances at all times.
- Keep dangerous items (knives, candles, hot pots and pans, etc.) out of reach of children.
- Cover pots and pans that can splatter grease to avoid burns.
- If you’re cooking with a fryer, do it outside at a safe distance from the house, make sure it’s on an even surface, and never use it on a wooden deck.
- Use a kitchen timer to ensure nothing gets left on the stove or in the oven for too long.
- Keep all pot handles facing the back of the stove to avoid knocking or pulling them off.
- Have a pan lid or baking sheet and some baking soda close by in case a fire breaks out. Using these items to cover a pot or pan that catches fire can help put it out.
- If you see smoke when frying food, turn the burner off and take the pan off the burner immediately.
In Case of Emergency…
As helpful as it is to follow these Thanksgiving cooking safety tips, accidents can still happen. In the event of a small kitchen or fryer fire, here’s what you can do to put it out:
- For small microwave fires – In the midst of a bustling kitchen, it’s all too easy to get distracted and put something in the microwave that doesn’t belong there. If you notice a small fire break out in the microwave, simply unplug it and leave the door closed. The lack of oxygen should kill the fire before it has a chance to grow.
- For small stove fires – If a greasy pot or pan catches fire on your stove, turn all burners off and cover the fire with a lid or baking sheet to put it out. If that doesn’t work, you can pour baking soda on it (never use water, flour, or salt). If the fire is still going, it’s time to break out the fire extinguisher.
- For small oven fires – The approach for oven fires is essentially the same as the microwave. Turn the oven off and leave the door closed. Unless the fire is too large, it should go out without issue.
- For fryer fires – If you’re cooking with a fryer, you should have a fire blanket and fire extinguisher ready to go. If a fire breaks out, throw the fire blanket over it or use the extinguisher. NEVER use water.
If a fire grows too large and out of control, put your emergency plan into action.
Make sure all family members, children, and pets have evacuated the house, stay a safe distance away, and contact emergency services.
In these situations, you could call 911, but especially on Thanksgiving Day, you could run into some trouble.
The Fastest Way to Get Help
We already know that more housefires happen on Thanksgiving than any other day…
But when you combine that with nationwide 911 staffing shortages and the lengthy question-and-answer format of the 911 system…
It’s not unlikely that it could be too late by the time you get the help you need.
When your home and all your personal belongings are at risk of going up in flames, you need the fastest emergency response possible.
That’s why the Rescu app is the perfect holiday safety solution.
Rescu is the fastest way to dispatch fire, ambulance, and police services in an emergency.
Send for help with just two taps on your smartphone or Apple Watch, and Rescu’s 24/7 UL-certified private monitoring center will instantly dispatch first responders to your address — no talking required.
When you send an alert, the app immediately notifies all your listed emergency contacts, so they’ll know you’re in trouble and can respond appropriately.
Emergency response times can have life-changing results — for better or worse.
Don’t gamble with your safety this Thanksgiving. Download the Rescu app today for fast emergency response you can always rely on.