SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — On Thanksgiving day, four times the usual number of cooking-related house fires occur. Now, officials are sharing some tips on how to not turn your delicious feast into a dangerous fire.
Thanksgiving is the number one day for house fires involving cooking equipment, Illinois state officials said. In 2021, the National Fire Protection Association found that on Thanksgiving Day alone, 1,160 home cooking fires were reported to U.S. fire departments. That is 297% more reports than the daily average. Cooking has led to 53% of all reported house fires and 38% of house fire injuries. Cooking-related house fires are also the number one cause of house fire deaths, according to officials.
Three of every five cooking-related house fires involve ranges and cook-tops. Ovens are involved in 13% of those fires.
“Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate with family and friends and to be thankful, not deal with an accidental fire due to a cooking accident,” State Fire Marshal James A. Rivera said. “It’s important to keep cooking safety a top priority and ensure all your cooking appliances are in working order before you begin cooking your Thanksgiving feast. Keep the tips we have provided below in mind, so you don’t have to invite the fire department over to your house this Thanksgiving to put out a fire.”
Here are some tips to help you prevent fires while preparing food:
- Never leave food that you are frying, boiling, grilling or broiling unattended. Turn off the stove when leaving the kitchen.
- If you’re frying a turkey:
- Only use the turkey fryer outdoors.
- Don’t overfill oil in the fryer. Fill your pot with water and place the turkey in. This will help to determine how much oil is needed without spilling it when you are ready to fry, which could lead to a fire.
- Before frying, make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry.
- When handling the pot, use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms.
- Keep children at least three feet away from the stove and hot food/drink preparation areas.
- Also keep these areas clear of towels, papers, potholders, or anything flammable.
- Before preheating your oven, make sure nothing is already inside.
- Check simmering, baking, or roasting food regularly. Stay close by while food is cooking and use a timer to remind you when it’s ready.
- In the event that a fire happens in the oven, keep the door shut and turn off the heat.
- Slide a lid over the pan to smother small flames inside. Turn off the burner and keep the lid over the pan while it cools.
- If you have any doubt fighting a small fire, evacuate. Call 911 or your emergency number once you’re outside.
Following these tips can help keep your holiday “gravy” instead of turning it grave. You can find even more fire safety information on the NFPA website or on the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal website.