The Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit (MMU) of Cal Fire wants to remind the public that safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home. Particularly when the kitchen is the heart of the home, and kids love to be involved in holiday preparations.
Cooking is, and has long been, the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home cooking fires peak on major U.S. holidays that traditionally include Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Easter.
NFPA statistics show that in 2013, Thanksgiving Day was the leading date for home cooking fires with 1,550, 230% above the average number of fires per day nationally.
Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and associated civilian injuries and was the third leading cause of home fire deaths.
To help prevent kitchen fires in your home, Cal Fire offers the following safety tips:
* Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
* Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
* When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
* Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
* Make sure kids stay 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.
* Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
* Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
* Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn, away from your stovetop.
* Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
* Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove, and then no one can bump them or pull them over.
* Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby, use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. Covering the pan will put out the fire.
It is a recipe for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing, especially hanging sleeves. Walk away from a cooking pot on the stove, or leave flammable materials, such as potholders or paper towels, around the stove. Whether you are cooking the family holiday dinner or a snack for the children, practicing safe cooking behaviors will help keep you and your family safe.
Cal Fire MMU Unit Chief Nancy B. Koerperich reminds you to cook only with equipment designed and intended for cooking. There is additional danger of fire, injury, or death if equipment is used for a purpose for which it was not intended.
Cal Fire wishes you and yours a very safe and happy Thanksgiving celebration.
Additional information may be obtained at your local fire station or on the Cal Fire website.
Cal Fire thanks the community for its continued support and helping to keep surrounding areas safe this holiday season.