The Thanksgiving holiday brings families together to enjoy great food and make lasting memories but its also a very dangerous day for fires. Thanksgiving the leading day for cooking fires. Cooking equipment, most often the range or stovetop are the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States.
Albuquerque Fire Chief James Breen and Fire Marshal Victor Padilla shared fire safety information on Monday, November 25th in a news conference in preparation of the Thanksgiving holiday. In 2012, Albuquerque Firefighters responded to over 148 cooking fires with an estimated property damage of $231,000.
During 2003-2006, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 150,200 home structure fires involving cooking equipment per year. These fires caused an annual average of 500 civilian deaths, 4,660 civilian injuries, and $756 million in direct property damage.
Top causes for cooking fires:
- Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in these fires.
- Having items that can catch fire too close to heating equipment.
- Unintentionally turning on or not turning off the stove.
Cook with Caution:
- Be on alert! Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove
- Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains - away from your stovetop.
- Keep kids and pets at least 3’ away from any cooking area to prevent burns.
If you have a cooking fire:
Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- When in doubt, just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 911 after you leave.
- Read manufacturer’s instructions
- Completely thaw turkey
- Place the fryer on a flat surface and in an open area away from anything that can burn
- Use protective wear to prevent burns
- Have an ABC rated fire extinguisher nearby
Smoke Alarms and Evacuation Plans save lives:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, outside and inside each sleeping area and at least 10 feet away from a cooking appliance.
- Test smoke alarm once a month and replace batteries during daylight savings.
- Practice a home evacuation plan each month so everyone knows when to get out and where to go if a fire occurs.