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Holiday Meal Prep: Preventing Kitchen Fires

The kitchen is the heart of the home. From passing traditional family recipes through generations to creating new and lasting memories, cooking brings family and friends together. And for many, the holiday season is the most common time of year to be gathered in the kitchen.

The kitchen also happens to be where most house fires start, and Thanksgiving Day is the peak day of the year for home-cooking fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) adds that unattended cooking is the leading contributing factor to these fires. It’s easy to get distracted in the kitchen, especially during the holiday season when party hosts are also busy entertaining guests, keeping things tidy and checking to ensure the appetizers and drinks are flowing.

Keeping families protected is important, so it is essential to keep fire safety top of mind. Families looking to deep-fry their holiday turkey at home are subjecting themselves and their home to an increased fire risk. Many of us have seen videos highlighting the dangers of deep-frying a turkey at home and the NFPA strongly discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that cook the turkey in hot oil. The NFPA states these fryers are not suitable for safe use even by well-informed and careful consumers and urges people who prefer a fried turkey to seek out professional establishments for the preparation of the dish. For those still planning to prepare a deep-fried turkey this holiday season, consider the use of an “oil-less” turkey fryer. If a gas-fueled fryer is to be used, be sure to read and follow all instructions and precautions that come with the fryer, and never leave the fryer unattended. As gas-fueled fryers must be used outdoors, the weather should be taken into consideration before determining whether to deep-fry a holiday turkey. If snow or rain hits the hot cooking oil it may cause the oil to splatter, leading to severe burns or property damage.

For those cooking their holiday turkey and all the accouterments indoors, be sure to keep an eye on the food while its cooking and keep pot holders, oven mitts and wooden utensils away from the stove-top or oven. The NFPA recommends the below safety precautions:

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking to keep an eye on the food.

  • Stay at home when cooking the turkey and check on it frequently.

  • Keep children at least three feet away from the stove and away from hot food and liquids to reduce the risk of serious burns.

  • Keep the floor clear of any tripping hazards, including kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.

  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.

  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.

  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.

  • Make sure all smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

At RJE Home, we see a spike in kitchen fires during the holiday season and urge you to have fire safety top of mind to keep your family and home protected.

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