For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations.
So keeping fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during this joyous but hectic time is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. As you start preparing your holiday schedule and organizing that large family feast, remember, by following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire.
Thanksgiving by the numbers
- Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. and Christmas Eve.
- In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.
- Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
- Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
NFPA joins CPSC to demonstrate the fire dangers of turkey fryers in this live burn. NFPA strongly discourages the use of turkey fryers.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- 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, 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 your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
TRAVEL SAFETY If plans include driving, travelers should check the weather along their route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming. Everyone should use their seat belts and no one should drink and drive. Drivers should be well rested and alert and give their full attention to the road – no cell phones. Other driving safety tips include:
• Follow the rules of the road – observe the speed limit.
• Use caution in work zones.
• Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers.
• Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
• Clean your headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows to help you see, especially at night.
• Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or if you are using your windshield wipers due to inclement weather.
More NFPA Thanksgiving-related information
- NFPA’s “Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment” report
- Download our “Kids in the Kitchen” guide for ideas on what different age groups can do around the kitchen as you prepare your holiday meal.
- Send a Sparky Thanksgiving e-Card
- NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers.