Fire safety tips for cooking during the Thanksgiving holiday

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Fire on South Kerr
Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires. File photo.

Fire safety is always important to remember in the kitchen, especially during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Members of the Wilmington Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association want people to remember safety as families, friends and neighbors gather for this fall cooking tradition, which is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

“As we enter into Thanksgiving…many people will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen,” Wilmington Fire Marshal Sammy Flower said. “Cooking fires are the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries in the United States.”

Thanksgiving Day was the leading date for home cooking fires in 2013 with 1,550 fires, which is 230 percent above the average number of fires per day, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires, civilian injuries, and the third leading cause of home fire deaths.

To prevent fire or injury from fires, the Wilmington Fire Department has offered the following fire tips;

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn the stove off.
  • 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’re cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stove-top and keep a 3- foot kid-free zone around your cooking area.
  • If the fire starts in the oven, turn off the oven and leave the door closed.
  • In the event of a cooking fire, when in doubt, just get out of the home and call your local fire department.

Turkey fryers

The NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers, in which hot oil is used to immerse the turkey for cooking.  According to the NFPA, the association continues to believe that turkey fryers that use cooking oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer. The use of turkey fryers  can lead to severe burns, other injuries, and the destruction of property.

NFPA urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out the dish from professional establishments, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants or consider a new type of “oil-less” turkey fryer.

More information about fire safety during the Thanksgiving holiday can be found on the NFPA website. For information about the Wilmington Fire Department click here.