With cooking being the leading cause of home fires, it stands to reason that Thanksgiving Day is the leading day in the United States for home fires involving cooking equipment. Every year, fire departments respond to an average of 172,900 home fires involving cooking equipment. Ranges or cook-tops were involved in 60% of these fires, with ovens involved in about 13%.
‘It is very important to keep an eye on what you are cooking, particularly on the stovetop’, said Longview Fire Marshal Jon Dunaway. ‘It’s very easy to get sidetracked, especially in a busy home during the holidays. Unattended cooking is the leading contributing factor in cooking fires.’
For the years 2014 – 2018 cooking caused almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries and was the second leading cause of home fire deaths nationwide.
Keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when you’re cooking on the stovetop to smother small grease fires. Smother a small fire by simply sliding the lid over the pan and be sure to turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
If you have a fire inside the oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing. After a fire, the oven should be serviced before being used again.
Here are some cooking safety tips, not only for the holidays but for year-round fire safety:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop.
- Stay in your home when cooking in your oven - and check it frequently.
- Keep children at least 3 feet from the stove to prevent burn injuries.
- Keep anything that can catch fire (oven mitts, food packaging, towels, etc.) away from your stovetop.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stovetop to prevent them from being reached by children.
- If you are going to deep fry a turkey, be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Fry the turkey in a device manufactured for that purpose and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Deep fry the turkey outside on a sturdy, non-combustible, level surface well away from things that can burn. Determine the correct amount of oil needed by first placing the turkey in the pot with water. An overfilled cooking pot will cause oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside, resulting in a fire.
The Longview Fire Department wants all of our residents to enjoy a happy, fire-safe holiday season.