Tips for Safe Cooking this Thanksgiving

It's that time of year again! Thanksgiving is a little over a week away and Christmas is just around the corner. Most of us are gearing up for parties, shopping trips, and cooking multiple meals this holiday season.

Unfortunately, the number of fires that occur on Thanksgiving Day is triple the average daily rate in the United States. This is likely due to the increase in number of people cooking large and complex meals for their family get-togethers. This year, like every year, we urge readers not to leave their pots, pans, and cookers unattended. Cooking fires account for approximately 40 percent of all accidental residential fires, and these cooking fires are usually due to leaving the cooking food unattended.

Here are a few more cooking safety tips to keep in mind this Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season:

  • Do not wear loose clothes or long sleeves while cooking near ranges, ovens, and fryers. These flammable materials can be dangerous if they catch fire.
  • Monitor young kids so that they are not near hot stoves, pans, or utensils. It is also smart to point handles on pans away from the front of the stove so that kids do not cause them to fall and scald themselves.
  • If you're using a turkey fryer, make sure you are outside and not close to your home. House fires are commonly started when people use their turkey fryers in their garages or on porches. You should also be careful not to fill the fryer with too much oil and avoid placing a frozen turkey into oil that is hot.
  • Make sure that you have working smoke alarms in your home. Approximately 60 percent of deaths caused by fires in homes occur when the home is either missing smoke alarms or in which the smoke alarms are not working. Smoke alarm batteries need to be changed yearly.
  • Make sure your family members know what to do in the event of a fire. Your family should have an escape plan in place for emergencies such as fires. Young children should be shown the best escape routes and educated on a practical meeting place outside and away from the home where every family member can meet after escaping the home.

In the event that a fire does start in your home this Thanksgiving, you should attempt to use a lid to cover the pot or pan so that the flames are smothered. Immediately turn the stove or oven off, and then call 911. You should avoid using water or flour on a fire, as it can make the flames worse. Fire extinguishers should also be kept on hand for situations in which they are deemed necessary.

At the Law Offices of Andrew W. Jones, we want to help lower the number of house fires that occur in the United States. These types of devastating events are even worse when they occur near the holidays, leaving families with expenses that can ruin the season. For more information on cooking and fire safety, contact our office at (770) 427-5498 or at www.awjlaw.com. You can also do more research on fire safety through the U.S. Fire Administration at www.usfa.fema.gov.