Thanksgiving is the worst day of the year for home cooking fires

Posted at 11:39 AM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 16:40:36-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Firefighters have a warning this Thanksgiving, don't turn your meal into a disaster or worse this holiday.

Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, in that order, are the peak days for home cooking fires.

Typically, the number of residential fires doubles on Thanksgiving Day.

Watch what happens when a fire starts during Thanksgiving cooking

The National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration offer these tips to stay safe:

Roasting & Baking

  • If you are roasting your turkey, make sure you set a timer and do not leave the house. This way, you won’t forget about the bird as you watch the parade or football.
  • No matter which way you use the oven, be sure to keep juices and fillings from spilling over onto the heating element.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.

Frying & Boiling

  • Stand by your stove and stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling or broiling. If you are in the kitchen, it is easier to catch spills or hazardous conditions before they become a fire.
  • Keep the area on top of and around the stove clear of packaging, paper towels, and dish cloths - anything that can burn.
  • Be sure to clean up any spills as they happen.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Be prepared. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in case you need to smother a pan fire.
  • Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove so you don’t bump them.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks, or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffeemaker, plate warmer, or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

Frying a Turkey

  • Purchase a turkey fryer that has a lower, four-legged base for stability. Better yet, purchase a no-oil-needed turkey fryer!
  • Use a fryer with thermostat controls. This will ensure the oil does not become overheated. At the very least use a cooking thermometer to keep tabs on the oil’s temperature.
  • Thaw your turkey completely and remove all dampness before lowering it into the hot oil.
  • To avoid overfilling the pot with oil (a serious fire hazard), place the raw turkey in the pot and add water until it just covers the bird. Remove the turkey and mark the water line. This is oil fill line.
  • Be sure to wear heavy duty, fire-resistant gloves.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the fryer.
  • Always use the fryer outdoors and keep a fire extinguisher nearby.