Tips to prevent a cooking fire on Thanksgiving

(KBSI) – Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment, with four times the average number occurring, according to the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal.

Ranges and cook-tops account for almost three out of every five home fires reported involving cooking, with ovens accounting for 13% of those fires. Cooking causes half (49%) of all reported home fires and more than two of every five (42%) home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths (20%).

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires.

The American Red Cross gives some steps everyone can follow to have a safe holiday.

Most cooking fires are caused by unattended cooking. To help keep you and your loved ones safe,

The Red Cross offers these safety tips:

  • When cooking a turkey or other items in the oven, stay in your home and check on it regularly.
  • Keep an eye on what you fry. Never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Move items that can burn away from the stove. This includes dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains. Also keep children and pets at least three feet away.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  • When frying food, turn the burner off if you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil. Carefully remove the pan from the burner.
  • Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
  • Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on. Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to ensure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal in Illinois offers these cooking tips.

  • Never leave food that you are frying, boiling, grilling or broiling unattended! If you leave the kitchen, even for a short amount of time, turn off the stove.
  • Frying a Turkey has become more popular in recent years.
    • Make sure to not overfill oil in the fryer. Fill the pot you plan to use to fry the turkey with water and place the turkey in. This will help to determine how much oil is needed without causing oil to spill out when you are ready to fry, which could lead to a fire.
    • Use the turkey fryer outdoors ONLY!
    • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry before frying.
  • Use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms when you handle the pot!
    Create a “Kid Free Zone” of at least three feet around the stove or anywhere you are preparing hot food or drinks.
  • Keep the area around the stove clear of towels, papers, potholders, or anything that can burn.
  • Check your oven before preheating to ensure there are no items inside.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you when food is ready.
  • If there is a fire in the oven, keep the door shut and turn off the heat.
  • Smother small flames in a pan by sliding a lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and leave the lid over the pan while it cools.
  • If you have any doubt fighting a small fire, just get out! Call 9-1-1 or your emergency number from outside the home.

Test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late.

Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family.

If you or someone you know needs assistance after a home fire or local disaster, call the Red Cross dispatch line: (877) 597-0747.

According to the Red Cross, home fires are the most frequent disaster and claim seven lives every day in the U.S. Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death in a home fire by 50 percent.

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