With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s wise to start thinking about how to approach the holiday safely. Thanksgiving is considered the peak day for home cooking fires, with Christmas Day following closely behind. The NFPA reports that on Thanksgiving Day in 2019 there were more than three times the normal amount of cooking fires than on Thanksgiving Day in 2017. Unattended cooking was the leading cause of these fires.

The above information poses the question: What makes these fires so common on Thanksgiving Day, and how can we prevent these types of fires from occurring?

Cooking the turkey

The centerpiece of most Thanksgiving meals is the turkey. It can also become a dangerous fire hazard if cooked improperly, or left unattended. Much more can go wrong than you might imagine.

It’s becoming far more popular to cook turkeys using a fryer than in recent years. The main problem with cooking a turkey this way is that it is quite easy for the oil in the fryer to overflow onto the burner causing a grease fire. The oil is an accelerant and can catch fire in no time. The NFPA regularly advises against the use of cooking turkeys outdoor with gas-fueled fryers.

If you decide you’d like to fry your turkey, the biggest first step is to set up the fryer in an outdoor area away from flammable structures. The next thing you need to focus on is ensuring the size of the turkey is small enough to fit in with the oil in the fryer and excess oil doesn’t spill out. The turkey should also be fully thawed. When you place the turkey in the fryer, lower the entire turkey SLOWLY into the oil to avoid splashing any oil out. If in the unfortunate event a grease fire does occur when frying your turkey, have the proper fire extinguisher on hand to extinguish the flames and turn off the propane tank as quickly as possible.

When baking a turkey in the oven, it may be rare, but it can also ignite. If an oven fire does occur, try to cut the oxygen off to the flames with a lid while it’s still in the oven. If you take the flaming turkey out of the oven, it posses a risk to potentially catch other items on fire. Having a kitchen extinguisher available at all times is a good idea if the flames get too large to manage.

Children in the kitchen

Having children running around in a kitchen when you’re busy and bustling about is just a bad idea. Kids can knock over hot liquids, trip over cords, run into counter tops, appliances, or burn themselves. Several rules to remember this Thanksgiving are to keep kids three feet away from the stove, away from hot liquids, and to store all flame-creating materials out of their reach. If there are electrical cords dangling about, kids may pull on them, or trip over them as they are playing.

If at all possible, the best idea is to keep all kids out of the kitchen area during busy holidays like Thanksgiving. If you aren’t able to keep kids from running amuck while food is being cooked, serious injury, or fire, could occur. Never leave your kids unattended when food is being prepared.

Damaged/Faulty Equipment

Almost half of all of the reported homes fires and injuries from homes fires have faulty cooking equipment involved somehow. On a regular basis, it is also the second leading cause of home fire deaths per a report by the NFPA. Before considering offering your home to host a Thanksgiving gathering this year, check to make sure all of your smoke detectors in your home are functioning properly. Next, double-check that the cooking equipment you are using isn’t damaged or have any split or frayed cords.

Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries. It is also the second leading cause of home fire deaths, per NFPA. Before hosting your Thanksgiving gathering this year, check to make sure all smoke detectors in your home are working. Next, check to make sure all cooking equipment you plan to use is in good working order.

Messy Kitchens

With the kitchen being the main gathering place for visiting friends and family, especially on Thanksgiving Day, it can also become a dangerous place. A cluttered kitchen can lead to cooking while unattended if the host gets distracted by friends and family. When many appliances, hot plates, and dishes are brought by guests, a kitchen can become increasingly cluttered.

Try to keep most family and friends out of the kitchen when you’re preparing food. A good idea is to set up appetizers and drinks in a different room to limit guests from crowding the kitchen and distracting you from practicing the art of cooking safely. Another good way to keep people out of the kitchen is to set up a separate table away from kitchen counters for guests to leave dishes. If a specific dish, like a crock-pot, needs to be plugged in, set up a completely separate area near an outlet to avoid messy cords and hazards.

Encore RRC Inc.

Encore RRC Inc. has been in the fire restoration business for over 20 years. As a family-owned business in the Raleigh-Durham area, Encore is dedicated to getting our clients back into their homes or commercial spaces as quickly and safely as possible. Fire safety and maintaining compliancy is serious business. Encore RRC’s highly trained technicians and knowledgeable management team work to ensure the proper restoration of your home or building. Call us today at 919-301-8320 or contact us today for more information.