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Stay safe this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is annually one of the biggest days of the year for home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, it is actually the biggest day, followed by the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

The reason for this is, by and large, unattended cooking. With typical Thanksgiving celebrations often involving lots of cooking going on and many distractions with family and friends coming and going, that’s hardly a surprise.

This year’s Thanksgiving will probably look a lot different for many of us, and that’s due to another safety issue — COVID-19. In order to reduce their exposure to the virus, many people are paring down the number of people invited to their celebrations, or keeping it just to their immediate family.

However, many people will likely still be cooking a big meal. With so many delicious uses for Thanksgiving leftovers, there’s no reason to skimp on the quality or quantity of food even if there’s fewer people there.

With that in mind, fire safety is still a priority on this holiday. With your safety and the safety of local firefighters at the top of our list, here are a few tips to stay safe on Thanksgiving, from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • 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, or other items in the oven, stay in your home and check on it regularly.
  • Set a timer on your stove or phone 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 away from direct contact with the cooking area.
  • Avoid long sleeves and hanging fabrics that could 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 a grease 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 and areas where hot food or drink is being prepared or served. Steam or spills from these items can cause severe burns.