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Thanksgiving cooking safety tips to prevent fires

Danbury Fire Chief Geoff Herald says as families gather in kitchens to cook Thanksgiving dinner, many are stepping into what can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the house if you don't practice safe cooking habits.  The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is cooking.  On Thanksgiving Day itself, fires occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from noon to 4 pm.


According to data from the USFA, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss each year.


Herald has some tips and reminders to make sure firefighters aren't acidentally invited to your Thanksgiving celebration.


  1. You should never leave cooking food unattended.
  2. Keep food packaging and other combustibles away from burners and heat sources.
  3. Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly.
  4. Don't wear loose sleeves while working over hot stove burners - they can melt, ignite or catch on handles of pots and pans spilling hot oil and other liquids.
  5. Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

Deep-fried turkey has become a favorite Thanksgiving tradition in many households.  But if used improperly, an overloaded fryer can easily tip over and set an entire house ablaze.  USFA offers the following helpful tips to backyard chefs who plan to deep-fry a turkey for Thanksgiving:

  1. Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  2. Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  3. Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  4. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  5. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.

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