According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) data, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. On average, 166,100 home fires, per year, involve cooking equipment. Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment.
The Illinois Fire Marshal is offering these tips to keep in mind when preparing food, not just during the holiday season but all year:
- Never leave food that you are frying, boiling, grilling or broiling unattended! If you leave the kitchen, even for a short amount of time, turn off the stove.
- Ranges and cook tops account for almost three out of five reported home fires involving cooking equipment.
- Ovens account for 13 percent of all those fires.
- Frying a turkey has become more popular in recent years.
- Make sure to not overfill oil in the fryer. Fill the pot you plan to use to fry the turkey with water and place the turkey in. This will help to determine how much oil is needed without causing oil to spill out when you are ready to fry.
- Use the turkey fryer outdoors ONLY!
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before frying.
- Use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms when you handle the pot!
- Create a "Kid Free Zone" of at least three feet around the stove or anywhere you are preparing hot food or drinks.
- Children younger than 5 were more likely to be hurt by touching hot cooking equipment or scalded by hot liquids than actual fire.
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stove top.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you when food is ready.
- If there is a fire in the oven, keep the door shut and turn off the heat.
- Smother small flames in a pan by sliding a lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and leave the lid over the pan while it cools.
- If you have any doubt fighting a small fire, just get out! Call 9-1-1 or your emergency number from outside the home.
- 55 percent of civilians injured in home fires involving cooking equipment were hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves
Additional fire safety information can be found on the NFPA website at https://www.nfpa.org or on the Office of the State Fire Marshal website at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/sfm/Pages/default.aspx.