"Sous Vide Thanksgiving Turkey" by sousvideguy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

ITHACA, N.Y. — Home fires commonly start in the kitchen – and because most Thanksgiving holidays center around the kitchen and the oven, it’s a good time of year to refresh on some fire prevention tips.

These tips may seem like common knowledge, but Thanksgiving is one of the top days of the year for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving. But there are hazards in the kitchen to be aware of. Safety in your galley is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity in the home.

Cooking is the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries and kitchens are the leading area of fires. The average number of home fires on Thanksgiving Day is normally double the average number of fires in homes all other days,” the Ithaca Fire Department said in a safety message on Facebook.

Below are 10 cooking safety tips from the American Red Cross: 

  1. Keep an eye on what you fry. Stay in the kitchen and never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  2. Clean and clear the area around the stove before turning on the heat.
  3. Move items that can burn away from the stove. These include towels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains.
  4. Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  5. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
  6. Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
  7. Fires can start when the heat is too high. When frying food, turn the burner off if you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil. Carefully remove the pan from the burner.
  8. Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  9. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
  10. Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to ensure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.

The IFD has been sharing a number of Thanksgiving cooking tips ahead of the holiday, including a few geared toward turkey fryers. If you are planning to deep fry a bird, here are a few things the IFD recommends (plus a bonus video from NFPA):

  • Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
  • An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot.
  • Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
  • Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
  • The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot.

Featured image: “Sous Vide Thanksgiving Turkey” by sousvideguy is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.