November 18, 2019

Holiday Cooking Safety

Did you know that Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.  In 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) cooking fires are actually the number one cause of home fires and injury.  NFPA reports that ranges and cooktops account for 3 out of every 5 reported home fires involving cooking.  And, unattended cooking is responsible for 33% of home fires related to cooking equipment, 49% of the associated deaths and 46% of the associated injuries. 

What does this mean? Make fire prevention a priority and don’t leave the food cooking on the stove while you watch the parade, football game or attending to guests in another room.

So what can you do to keep your family — and your holiday dinner — safe this season?

NJFSAB and the NFPA offer the following safety tips:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Remove oven mitts, dish towels, paper goods and other items that can easily catch fire away from open flames and hot surfaces.
  • Keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove.
  • Keep children away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

These safety tips are for people of all ages.  In fact, the NFPA notes that adults over the age of 65 are at a higher risk of cooking fire deaths or injuries than any other age group, and children under 5 are more likely to be hurt by touching hot cooking equipment.   

For more information and educational materials about preventing Thanksgiving fires visit the NFPA website.

Here is a fact sheet on Thanksgiving fires from the U.S. Fire Administration/FEMA

November 18, 2019

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