The Thanksgiving holiday is almost here and soon families will be coming together for a time of celebration and thankfulness. In addition to the turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and all the other fixings, the Grand Island Fire Department encourages residents to put fire safety on their Thanksgiving menu.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. In 2017, more than three times as many home cooking fires occurred on Thanksgiving as on a typical day with U.S. fire departments responding to an estimated 1,600 home cooking fires on the holiday.
Along with NFPA, the Grand Island Fire Department offers the following tips to keep families safe this holiday season:
- Be sure to remove previous food and grease buildup from burners, stove top, and oven before starting Thanksgiving cooking.
- Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, or broiling food. If leaving the kitchen, turn off the stove.
- When simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly and remain in the home while the food is cooking.
- Keep children at least three feet away from the stove as steam or splashes from vegetables, gravy, and other dishes can cause serious burns.
- Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing while cooking and if wearing long sleeves roll them up.
- Keep the number of people in the kitchen to a minimum, including children and pets, to avoid injuries from hot spills or causing tripping hazards. Crowded kitchens can cause confusion and result in burns.
- Be sure electrical cords from appliances such as electric knives, coffeemakers, plate warmers, and mixers are not dangling off the counter or within easy reach of children.
- Keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels, and wrappers away from stoves and ovens.
- Never leave children alone near lit candles. Furthermore, matches and utility lighters should be kept in a locked cabinet out of the reach of children.
- Test smoke alarms to ensure alarms are working properly.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency and know how to use it.
As noted above, many safety tips involve kids. The Fire Department suggests having activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during the busy food preparation time. Games, puzzles, or books centered on Thanksgiving will keep kids busy, but still allows them to be included in the holiday celebration.
Grand Island Fire Chief Cory Schmidt says, “The GIFD wants you have a safe Thanksgiving that is free from fire or accidents. Remember to stand by your pan and keep a close watch on your cooking and baking this holiday season.”