Thanksgiving is the Most Dangerous Day for Cooking Fires

There are more than triple the number of home cooking fires on Thanksgiving as a typical day, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Be really, really careful when you start preparing that big Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s the day of the year with the most cooking fires, firefighters say.

The National Fire Protection Association released data this past week showing cooking as the leading cause of reported home fires year-round. In fact, almost half of all home fires in the United States — 48% of them — are caused by cooking.

And 21% of all home fire deaths in the country are also blamed on cooking.

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of those fires.

Thanksgiving Day is a big cooking day, so it’s not a surprise that Thanksgiving would potentially be a big day for fires.

With so much going on beyond the actual preparation of the meal itself — the decorating, the cleaning, the planning for additional family and guests — it’s easy to get distracted.

And that’s when disaster can happen.

The NFPA offered these tips to stay safe as you prepare for the feast: 

  • Never leave food cooking on the stovetop unattended, especially when frying and sautéing with oil. Stay in your home while the turkey is cooking and check on it frequently.
  • Use a timer to keep track of cooking times, most notably when simmering, baking, or roasting foods that require longer cook times. Check the stove or oven frequently.
  • Consider putting timers in different rooms so you can hear them over music and party chatter.
  • Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels well away (a minimum of three feet) from the cooking area.
  • Push up shirt sleeves and avoid wearing billowy clothing that may come in contact with open flames or other heat sources. 
  • Avoid cooking when drinking alcohol, using other substances, or if you’re sleepy.
  • Make sure children stay at least three feet away from all cooking areas, hot food, and liquids to avoid burns.

The organization also discourages the use of turkey fryers because they can so easily cause a disaster. You’ve surely seen videos like this before:

I’ve had fried turkey and it can be quite tasty. But I’ve never wanted to have it enough to risk something like this happening.

So please keep these tips in mind. And stay safe this Thanksgiving holiday.

That in itself will give you one more thing to be thankful for! 

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.