Food, family, and friends—the holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate the good things in life! While Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the top holidays celebrated by cooking and great meals, cooking obviously continues throughout the year. Throughout the year, not just for the holidays, be sure to keep yourself and your loved ones safe by keeping fire safety top of mind.
Fire safety is especially important in the kitchen any time of the year. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires in the U.S., followed closely by the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Christmas Eve. By far, the leading cause of these holiday home fires is cooking equipment. Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths. Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths. The average losses for Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings, however, were less than the same measures for non-Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings.
|Loss measure||Thanksgiving Day fires||Non-Thanksgiving Day fires|
While cooking equipment is involved in 72% of all Thanksgiving Day fires, it is the cause of 48% of residential building fires that occur on days other than Thanksgiving. These facts aren’t to scare you, but to make you aware of potential risks to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Here are a few fire safety tips to keep in mind throughout the year
For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations. So keeping fire safety top of mind in the kitchen any time of the year is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. There are a few simple safety tips that will allow you to enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire. Basic safety tips:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Beware of turkey fryers
Yes, fried turkey is delicious. But turkey fryers can be very dangerous especially if proper instructions aren’t followed. The National Fire Prevention Association strongly discourages the use of turkey fryers.
If you do decide to deep-fry your turkey during the holiday season or just on a whim at any time during the year, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and follow these safety tips:
- Never use a turkey fryer inside, and keep it off of decks, out of garages, and a safe distance away from any structure.
- Set the fryer on a level surface and avoid moving it once it’s in use.
- Never fry a frozen turkey.
- Avoid overfilling the fryer with oil.
- Wear safety equipment, including goggles and oven mitts.
If your turkey fryer does catch fire, DO NOT attempt to put out the fire using water. Keep a grease-fire rated fire extinguisher handy.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy
Don’t keep the fire extinguisher close to the stove. It should be placed no more than 30 feet away, positioned so that you won’t need to reach through dangerous smoke or flames should you need to access it. If you have a small kitchen, you may even need to mount the extinguisher on a wall in the adjacent room–as long as it’s easily accessible from the kitchen. Be sure your fire extinguisher is fully charged and is not expired. A fully operational fire extinguisher is a home necessity throughout the year.
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