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Burn the Turkey, Burn the Pie – But DON’T Burn Down the House!

OK, on second thought – don’t burn the turkey or the pie, either. But DO be particularly careful not to burn down the house.

Though it’s not really surprising, statistics show that lots of Turkey Days are ruined by house fires that start in the kitchen. In fact, there’s more kitchen-started fires on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year.


According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), unattended cooking is the leading cause of those fires. In at least half of the cases, it’s the food itself that ignites and sets off the conflagration. (See? Told you not to burn that turkey!)

The NFPA offers a few tips to help you avoid padding the sad statistics:

Pay attention! No snoozing or daydreaming while cooking. And since alcohol makes you less alert, hold off on the tippling until after cooking is completed.

Don’t leave cooking food unattended. You don’t have to stay in the kitchen for all the hours that your turkey is roasting in the oven, of course. But stovetop cooking? That’s different. If you’re frying, grilling, or boiling food, don’t leave it unattended. If you must leave the kitchen for some reason, turn off all the stovetop burners.

Carefully avoid carelessness. We’ve all done it: Without really thinking about it, we’ve all done something really dumb that could have had tragic results. And that’s how lots of kitchen fires get started: Somebody carelessly lets something combustible get too close to the stovetop. So try to be extra-vigilant about the items you place on the countertop close to the stove. Anything that can burn – including oven mitts, wooden cooking utensils, and packages of food – should be kept far from the stovetop.

And if a Fire Does Get Started?

Don’t panic. If a fire starts in a pan on the stovetop, carefully cover the pan with a lid to smother the flames, and turn off the burner. And then just leave the pan covered until it cools off completely. Never use water to try to put out a stovetop fire.

If there’s a fire in the oven, turn the oven off and keep the door closed. The fire will likely burn out quickly from oxygen starvation.

And it’s a good idea, of course, to have a fire extinguisher on-hand in the kitchen at all times. Just make sure that the extinguisher is always charged and ready for use (check it once per month).

Thanksgiving Day F-Words: Fun, Food, Football – and Fires

Thanksgiving is a day for fun and food, friends, family and football. Unfortunately, it’s also a day for kitchen-started house fires. So heed the NFPA’s tips for avoiding kitchen fires, and be extra-cautious when cooking up that fabulous holiday meal.

Because there’s one F-word that you really don’t want associated with your Thanksgiving.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 25th, 2013 at 9:38 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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