The Kitchen Can Be a Dangerous Place On Thanksgiving Day

Category: Personal Insurance

“Over the river and through the woods, to the hospital we go…” We’d all like to avoid leaving grandma’s house to head to the emergency room, or worse, seeing grandma’s house destroyed by fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are more home fires involving cooking equipment on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. Since we all have more people, more activity and more cooking taking place on Thanksgiving, it is not surprising that the risk for fire increases.

The NFPA offers a variety of safety tips for the kitchen that can help you avoid a fire or accidents in your home on Thanksgiving:

  • Never leave your stovetop unattended while you are cooking.
  • Stay home while the turkey is cooking in the oven. Check it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove and other cooking equipment.
  • Keep kids away from hot foods and liquids that could cause steam or splash burns.
  • Keep knives and other sharp cooking utensils out of the reach of children.
  • Cords from small appliances should never be left dangling off a countertop or within reach of a child.
  • Matches and utility lighters should be kept up high, out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave children alone in a room with a lit candle.
  • Keep flammable items including potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains away from the stovetop and oven or any other kitchen appliance that generates heat.
  • Turn the handles of pots and pans on the stove inward to avoid accidents.
  • Install a smoke alarm in your kitchen and check it regularly to make sure it is in good working condition.
  • Before going to bed on Thanksgiving night, check the house for burning candles or smoking materials, and make sure that all appliances and cooking implements are turned off or cooled down. 

The NFPA also strongly discourages the use of outdoor turkey fryers. While increasingly popular, these fryers can cause problems from minor burns to spills and major disasters. The NFPA warns:

  •  Fryers can easily tip and spill hot cooking oil.
  • Excessive oil or a partially frozen turkey will cause the fryer to overflow when the turkey is inserted.
  • A small amount of cooking oil coming into contact with the burner can cause a large fire.
  • Most fryers don’t have thermostat controls. The oil can continue to heat to the point of combustion.
  • The sides of the pot, lid and handles can get extremely hot and create a burn hazard.

Above all, use your discretion and exercise caution whenever you are doing a large amount of cooking and entertaining guests. Even a small accident could ruin your holiday, or worse.

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