Use caution while cooking

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fire officials are urging people hosting Thanksgiving dinner to be careful while cooking.

“Thanksgiving can be a whirlwind of cooking and entertaining guests,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for the National Fire Protection Association. “With so much multitasking taking place, fire hazards around the oven or stovetop can easily be overlooked. Cooks should be conscious of fire safety this Thanksgiving, whether the menu is meant to serve two or 20.”

Cooking fires are the No.1 cause of home fires and related injuries, and Thanksgiving Day is the prime day for home cooking fires. In 2009, the number of home cooking fires was three times the national average of fires per day.


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To reduce the risk of cooking fires this Thanksgiving, the NFPA recommends the following safety tips:

  • Keep anything that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains, away from the stovetop.
  • 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 yourself about the food.
  • Stay alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the oven or stove.

If you have a cooking fire:

  • Get out of the house and call 911.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out, someone has called 911 and you have a clear path out of the home. If the path begins to become blocked, get out.
  • 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.