How to make sure you don’t accidentally set your kitchen on fire this Thanksgiving

Between three and four times as many cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year
Generic image of a turkey being fried.
Generic image of a turkey being fried.(Guian Bolisay / CC BY-SA 2.0)
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 2:51 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The National Fire Protection Association is sharing some tips, as there are more cooking fires on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.

In fact, between three and four times as many cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. On Thanksgiving in 2019, there were about 1,400 different cooking fires in the U.S. That’s a 228% increase over the daily average!

In general, cooking is the leading cause of structure fires and civilian fire injuries. It’s the second-leading cause of fire deaths and property damage.

“Thanksgiving is a hectic holiday, with multiple dishes cooking and baking at the same time, along with lots of guests, entertaining, and other distractions in the home that can make it easy to lose sight of what’s on the stove or in the oven,” said Lorraine Carli, VP of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires, so we strongly encourage people keep a close eye on what they’re cooking and to minimize the likelihood of getting distracted.”

The NFPA “strongly discourages” the use of turkey fryers that use cooking oil, because they can cause devastating burns. Instead, the NFPA recommends buying a fryer that does not use oil. Or, you can buy a fried turkey from a grocery store or restaurant.

Here is the list of tips from the NFPA for how you can avoid accidentally setting your kitchen, or house, on fire:

  • Never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Some types of cooking, especially those that involve frying or sautéing with oil, need continuous attention.
  • When cooking a turkey, remain at home and check it regularly.
  • Make use of timers to keep track of cooking times, particularly for foods that require longer cook times.
  • Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels at least three feet away from the cooking area.
  • Avoid long sleeves and hanging fabrics that can come in contact with a heat source.
  • Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Only open the door once you’re confident the fire is completely out, standing to the side as you do. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact the fire department for assistance.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the stove. Kids should also stay away from hot foods and liquids, as steam or splash from these items could cause severe burns.