Thanksgiving is the number one day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas and Christmas Eve. The NFPA reported that home cooking fires on Thanksgiving day, 2013 actually went up 230%. Don’t let that get in between you and those buttery mashed potatoes- follow these tips to keep your family, your home, and your feast safe this Thanksgiving.
Keep a close eye on your cooking!
If you have something in the oven- DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE! Even if you just need to do a quick run to the store, have another family member or friend run the errand, or watch the oven for you while you’re gone. If you’ve got something cooking on the stovetop, keep an even closer eye on it! An open flame could spark anything close by- and cause serious fire damage to your home. When cooking on the stovetop, keep handles turned inward to avoid any accidents with heavy traffic in the kitchen.
Use a timer
Make sure to use a timer (or two if you need) throughout the cooking process to avoid any smoke or fires that set off your smoke detector or cause fire damage to your home. Not only will this protect your home from experiencing a home cooking fire, but it will also ensure your Thanksgiving feast doesn’t end up too crispy!
Heat oil slowly- hot oil can create a big mess in the kitchen and pose the threat of a grease fire when in close contact with open flames. NEVER use water to extinguish a grease fire. First, cut the source of the heat (ie. stove) then, remove all oxygen from fire- cover it with another pot or pan, and if that still is not containing the grease fire, pour baking soda on it. If the fire is still unmanageable or grows, call 911.
Limit traffic through the kitchen with a “Kid-Free Zone”
Create a kid-free zone, especially close to hot appliances to limit traffic through the kitchen. This will help avoid dangerous accidents and prevent your Thanksgiving dinner from ending up on the floor.
Fire Extinguishers and Smoke Detectors
In the event of a home cooking fire, you want to make sure you have all of the right resources to keep the fire as contained as possible to limit damage and danger in your home. Make sure you have smoke detectors in place and serviced, and a fire extinguisher on hand.
Smoke alarm batteries should be changed at least twice a year. Use daylight savings to your advantage, and change the batteries when you change your clocks.
The NFPA suggests including the following steps in your fire extinguisher inspection:
- Ensure accessibility. Make sure the extinguisher is in its proper spot, visible and easy to access.
- Inspect the seals. Look over the tamper and safety seals to make sure they are intact.
- Check the pressure. If your fire extinguisher has a pressure gauge, be sure that the gauge’s needle indicates proper pressure. If the fire extinguisher has a test indicator, press it to make sure the pressure reading is within the correct range.
- Look for damage. Visible signs of damage, such as corrosion, leakage or a clogged nozzle, may mean it’s time to replace the extinguisher.
- Document your inspection. Keep track of your extinguisher’s monthly checks and maintenance. Some extinguisher come with an inspection tag for this purpose.
Keep flammable items away from open flames
Don’t wear loose clothing while you’re cooking, stay organized, and keep the Thanksgiving spirits far from the stove.
Beware of turkey fryers
Only use turkey fryers outside at a safe distance (further than you think) from your home and anything flammable. Do not use a turkey fryer on your wooden deck or in the garage- turkey fryers are one of the top igniters of home cooking fires, play it safe!
If you do encounter a home cooking fire on turkey day, make sure your family has an fire action plan and knows the proper steps to take to minimize damage and exit safely. What happens next? Make sure you’ve checked all of the boxes on our After Fire Checklist before starting the fire damage restoration process. Fire damage should only be handled by a restoration expert. Certified Restoration is available 24/7, with expert experience to make the restoration process as simple and efficient as possible.