The guests have confirmed and the house has been deep cleaned, all that’s left is to prepare the meal and set the table. It’s Thanksgiving and diets are temporarily forgotten while a multitude of side dishes and desserts are prepared. Hopefully you have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season and it’s hard to picture anything going wrong, but you must always be prepared for anything that comes your way.
In many states, more fires break out on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year and the vast majority of them are cooking-related. Help protect your family and home by using caution in the kitchen. Consider the following Thanksgiving fire safety tips.
Never Leave Cooking Food Unattended
Consider your turkey like a small child, after all, it’s probably the size of one, and NEVER leave it unattended. Whoever is cooking needs to remain in the kitchen, even if everything is baking in the oven and seems like it can be left alone. You must keep a close eye on anything that is cooking and closely watch anything frying, grilling or broiling, and frequently check food that is simmering, baking or roasting.
You may be cooking a lot of different foods, so to help keep you aware of what cooking, use timers as a reminder to check on everything. Lastly, be alert. If you get sleepy or are consuming alcohol, have someone else take over the cooking duties for you or assist you in the kitchen. Just one wrong move in the kitchen can easily cause a fire.
Wear the Proper Clothing
If nobody is over, you may be very tempted to cook in your comfiest clothes. Maybe a loose, baggy sweatshirt? It seems harmless, after all, nobody is around, but if a fire were to ignite, your loose clothing will be the first thing to catch fire as you’re trying to put it out. To prevent this scenario from becoming your worst nightmare, you should wear short or tight-fitting sleeves and keep long hair completely pinned up.
Remove All Fire Hazard From the Area
If it might be or is flammable, remove it from your cooking space to instantly reduce the risk of a kitchen fire. When not on your hands, oven mitts should be kept away from the stove top and if you hang them up, never put them directly over the stove in case they fall.
When it comes to cooking utensils, steel is your best bet but beware of leaving it close to the burners so you don’t get caught by surprise if it heats up. Wooden or plastic utensils are OK to use but keep them far away from the burner as they can very easily catch fire.
Other things to look out for are towels, curtains and food packaging. Your linens should be kept well away from the cooking space for the same reason oven mitts are. If you have a window over the stove, tuck your curtains up as high as the can go. If a fire starts curtains are very likely to catch fire and cause it to spread much more quickly. Food packaging can also be flammable so, as a rule of thumb, keep your kitchen clean by throwing away packaging as soon as you’re done using it.
Forego the Fryer Fires
Your turkey is often the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal, so you want it to come out perfect. When it comes to deep fryers, many people rave about the taste and time saved in the kitchen, but typically, that means sacrificing safety for good taste. Is it worth the risk?
If you really must have a deep fried turkey on your table this Thanksgiving, be sure to thoroughly read the U.S. Fire Administration’s Guide to preventing a turkey fryer fire and avoid disaster with the following tips:
- Always use a turkey fryer outdoors, away from anything combustible or flammable and do not use it if the weather is looking like rain or snow.
- Never use a turkey fryer in a garage, under a shed or on a wooden deck.
- Always place turkey fryers on a flat surface
- Never leave your fryer unattended or let children and pets near it.
- Completely thaw the turkey beforehand.
- Do not overfill the pot.
- Be prepared with a fire extinguisher and phone to dial 911 in case of emergency.
In Case of Emergency… Be Prepared!
Many fire injuries occur when people try to fight fires themselves so know how to do it properly, keeping in mind the following Thanksgiving fire safety tips. If a small grease or cooking fire occurs on the stove top, keep a lid handy to put on the pan and smother it out. You’ll also want to turn off the burner but make sure to do that after the flames have been covered and never reach directly over the pan.
For oven fires, turn the heat off and keep the door closed until the fire goes out. To help avoid oven fires, if you’re using a disposable aluminum pan consider using two pans to avoid puncture, as dripping juices could also cause a fire.
Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand but if the fire persists, don’t be a hero, get everyone out of the house and call the fire department as soon as everyone is safe outside.
The good news is that property damage and liability coverage for fires are typically eligible for coverage under standard home insurance policies and your friends at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba are available for emergency cleanup services and fire damage restoration as soon as you call to help you get back in your home as soon as possible. Now that’s something to be thankful for!