Thanksgiving, a peak day for fires across the U.S.

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Thanksgiving is a great time to gather with family and friends but it’s also a peak day for fires across the U.S. as the holiday is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment.

Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home and it’s easy to lose track of what’s cooking which can lead to fires and other hazards in the kitchen.

Jay Jones, president of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association, tells WGMD’s Rob Petree unattended cooking and frying turkeys account for most fires on Thanksgiving Day.

In an interview with WGMD’s Rob Petree, Jay Jones explains…

“One thing, and most important, is unattended cooking,” Jones said. “It’s busy, a lot of people are over, and people aren’t paying attention. You see a lot of unattended cooking going on and stuff that revolves around cooking.”

Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Deep frying turkeys has also long presented itself as a fire hazard on Thanksgiving Day.

“A turkey that’s not thawed out all the way going into a pot of hot oil to deep fry,” Jones said could cause a devastating fire. “The oil overflows out, catches on fire, and creates a huge fire.”

NFPA continues to believe that turkey fryers that use cooking oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer.

Turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures and units currently available for home use pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process.

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.

National Fire Protection Association Top 10 safety tips for Thanksgiving Day Fire Safety
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top 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 three 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 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.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving.