As hosts begin planning their Thanksgiving meals next week, the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Prevention Bureau is reminding them to stay alert and practice patience in the kitchen.
“More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year, and it’s not hard to see why,” said Ohio Fire Marshal Kevin S. Reardon. “Between cleaning, taking care of children and cooking multiple dishes at a time, there’s no shortage of distractions in and around the kitchen. Staying alert and paying attention to what you’re cooking can go a long way in ensuring those distractions don’t have tragic consequences.”
Among the tips offered by the bureau are: Do not leave any cooking area unattended; maintain a kid-free zone around the stove or other areas where hot food or drinks are being prepared; keep paper towels and napkins away from hot surfaces; set a timer as a reminder of the food you are preparing; keep deep-fried turkey cooking out of the garage, away from your home, and wooden structures; before frying a turkey, place it in the fryer and cover it with water to determine the exact amount of oil you will need to prevent a fire caused by overflow; have an appropriate fire extinguisher handy.
And, of course, if the situation warrants, always be ready to evacuate and call 911.
While kitchen accidents may be a significant contributor to holiday house fires, it is also worth considering that many hosts light candles throughout their homes. Similar caution and vigilance must be practiced with anything that is an unusual heat source — and perhaps easily forgotten.
Reardon notes that taking such measures could make the difference between an enjoyable holiday celebration and tragedy.
As we prepare to celebrate all for which we are thankful this season, be certain to take those extra steps. You’ll be thankful for a safe holiday meal, too.