Did you know that cooking fires in residential buildings happen more often on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year? Or that peak timing for fires is from 10am – 4pm — right when everyone’s preparing their turkey day feasts?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is by far the number one contributing factor of cooking fires and fire deaths.

The following tips from NFPA will help you avoid the common pitfalls and serve up a holiday full of delicious dishes, happy memories, and a safe celebration.


preventing a kitchen fire

Remember to:

    • Stay in the kitchen when cooking as much as possible:
        • If you’re frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food and need to leave the kitchen for even a short time, turn the stove off until you return.
        • If baking, simmering, or roasting, check it regularly, stay in your home, and use a timer to remind you when it’s close to done.
      • While cooking turkey, check on it frequently, and do not leave your home.
      • Test your smoke alarms a few days before the holiday to make sure they’re working.
      • Keep oven mitts, food packaging, towels, and any other flammable materials away from your stovetop.
      • Keep the kitchen floor free of tripping hazards.
      • Don’t use the stove or stovetop if you’re sleepy or have consumed alcohol.
      • Be mindful of children:
      • Keep them at least 3 feet away from the stove.
        • Make sure knives, electric cords, and matches/lighters are out of reach.
        • Ensure they stay away from hot food and liquids.
        • Never leave them alone in a room with a lit candle.


preventing a kitchen fire

Prevent a Fryer Fire

Deep frying turkeys is all the rage — and unfortunately causes plenty of fires and injuries every year. If you plan to fry this year, follow these safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration:

      • Only use a unit specifically made for frying turkeys — don’t try to adapt cookware you already have.
      • Only use the fryer outdoors on a sturdy, level surface that is a safe distance from anything flammable. Remember that fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot oil. Maintain a 3-foot zone free of kids and pets to protect against injuries.
      • Make sure your turkey is fully thawed before frying it — a partially frozen bird will cause hot oil to splatter.
      • Ensure that you use the correct amount of oil. An overfilled fryer will spill over when the turkey is placed inside.
      • Do not leave the fryer unattended. A 15-pound turkey will take about 45 minutes to cook, so prep in advance so that you can stay outside the whole time.
      • Use gloves and have extra potholders and supplies nearby. The pot, lid, and handles of the fryer can get very hot.


preventing a kitchen fire

In Case of Emergency

A small grease fire can erupt suddenly — even despite best efforts at prevention. Here are some basic steps from the NFPA if one erupts on your watch.

      • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
      • If on the stovetop, smother flames by putting a lid or baking sheet over the pan, taking it off the heat, and turning the burner off. Leave the pan covered until completely cooled.
      • Do NOT pour water on a grease fire — it will make it worse or even spread the fire. A lid or cooking sheet is best; pouring baking soda or salt on small flames can also help extinguish them.
      • When in doubt, get out of the house. Close the door behind you and call 911.

The holidays are busy. Between cooking and hosting time and focus can feel scant. To let you focus on cooking — safe cooking, that is — enlist the whole family to help. Tasks such as shopping, decorating, and cleaning can be delegated. While in the kitchen, make sure someone else is on point for entertaining and taking care of things in the rest of the house. Finally, prepare activities (games, puzzles, books, etc.) ahead of time for children so that they’re occupied and out of the kitchen.

And most important: enjoy that precious time with your family — over a delicious, beautiful meal!



This article is furnished by California Casualty. We specialize in providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

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