Avoid Cooking Fires this Holiday Season

Bob Gamble
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The holiday season is here, and many of us will be making full use of our kitchens. It’s fun to immerse ourselves in cooking and baking this time of year, but it also requires special attention to fire prevention. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, with Christmas Day and Christmas Eve coming in at a close second and third. To reduce the risk of a holiday cooking fire happening at your home, consider this important fire and life safety information. 

Let’s Talk Turkey  

There are lots of ways to prepare your turkey, but roasting it in the oven is still the safest. If you use a disposable aluminum roasting pan, make it a newly purchased pan with no punctures, cuts or holes. This prevents the risk of dripping grease, which could fill your kitchen with smoke and start a fast-spreading oven fire. Once cooking begins, stay home and check on your bird every 30 to 40 minutes and baste it to prevent it from becoming dangerously dry. The NFPA strongly advises against frying a turkey — but if you insist upon it, only do so outside, after the turkey is completely thawed (a frozen turkey lowered into oil will immediately ignite).

Don’t Walk Away

NFPA data shows that unattended cooking is the leading cause of deaths from cooking fires (49% of all reported home fires, 42% of home fire injuries, and 20% of home fire deaths). No matter what you’re whipping up for the holidays, stay in or near your kitchen the entire time. Do not leave home, and ask a family member to make any unexpected trips to the store. While you’re staying nearby, you should still cook with caution.

Keep flammable items such as kitchen towels and potholders away from the stove and open flame. 

Clear the Smoke 

Before baking begins, make sure your smoke alarms are working with fresh batteries by pushing the test button. No matter what’s in the oven, remember that butter and oil are highly flammable. It might be a nuisance when a small amount of smoke triggers your smoke alarm, but never tamper with it to stop it from sounding. To reduce the risk of smoke in the air, cool your oven down by turning it off in between your batches. You should also use your range hood fan to keep air circulating, and vent your kitchen by opening a window or back door (even on a cool winter day). 

If the kitchen is your favorite spot during the holidays, preventing cooking fires should be a top priority. For residential fire protection you can trust in the Tri-State area, call Security Instrument this holiday season. 

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