As our families come together to celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s important to observe safe cooking practices.  Year after year, home cooking-related fires rank as one of the top causes of residential fires. That being said, it makes sense that Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home cooking-related fires. Families and friends are busy preparing meals and can become easily distracted with the bustle that often comes along with the holiday.  The U.S. Fire Administration reported that there is an estimated 2,000 residential fires on Thanksgiving, which cause an average of five deaths, 25 injuries, and over $20 million in property loss.

The kitchen is more than just a place to cook and eat. It’s often the centerpiece of the home. It’s where people come together to tell stories and find comfort with those around them. And on Thanksgiving, it’s certainly the busiest room in the house! It’s also one of the most hazardous. This year, while you are preparing for your Thanksgiving Day feast, keep safety in mind with these tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the American Red Cross:

  1. Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on stovetops. If you leave the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  2. When cooking turkey – stay home and check on it often.
  3. Be alert. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy or have consumed something that makes you drowsy.
  4. Keep anything that can catch fire – Thanksgiving decorations, potholders, utensils, food wrappers or curtains – away from the stove top.
  5. Make sure sleeves are out of the way when cooking. Wear tighter fitting clothing with shorter sleeves.
  6. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food is prepared or carried.
  7. Never hold a child while cooking, drinking or carrying hot foods or liquids.
  8. Make sure children stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee could cause serious burns.
  9. Turn the handles of pots and pans on the stove inward to avoid accidents.
  10. Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
  11. Test your smoke alarms by pushing the test button. Remember to replace batteries at least once a year.
  12. Have a fire extinguisher available not more than 10 feet from the stove, on the exit side of the room. Make sure that you know how to use your fire extinguisher.
  13. Keep floors clear so you don’t trip over toys, shoes, bags, etc.
  14. Keep the following out of reach of children: knives, lighters, and matches. Also make sure that electrical cords are not dangling off the counter, within easy reach of a child.
  15. If you are decorating with candles be sure they are out before going to bed or leaving the house. Remember to place them in a sturdy holder where they cannot be knocked over or where guests will not accidentally brush against them. Keep them out of the reach of children and never leave a child alone with a lit candle. Candles should not have combustible decorations around them.

We hope that you find these tips useful. Have a very Happy & Safe Thanksgiving!

By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.