Several times in the past month, Belmont Fire Department crews have been sent to homes to put out smokey fires that started from a homeowner who took their eyes off the stovetop or oven as they prepared a meal. Nationwide, cooking caused 43 percent of reported home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
On Thanksgiving, a cooking fire is three times more likely to occur than on any other day of the year
“Most fires on Thanksgiving occur between noon and 4 p.m.; the peak cooking hours,” says Belmont Fire Chief David Frizzell.
“A lot of those fires can be easily avoided by staying alert and in the kitchen while cooking,” he said.
Here are some common sense take aways about Thanksgiving Day fires:
- Many home cooking fires are caused by unattended equipment, abandoned material, a heat source left too close to flammable materials, product misuse and cooking equipment that is not properly turned off.
- The use of turkey fryers – which use a large amount of cooking oil at high temperatures – also poses a significant danger and can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property.
- If you have a cooking fire, go outside and call 9-1-1 for help. Do not try to fight the fire yourself.
- Thanksgiving is also a high time for cooking related burns. To prevent scalds and burns, cook on back burners and make sure all pot handles are turned inward so children don’t come into contact with them. Appliances that get hot, such as toaster ovens, should also be well out of a child’s reach. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared or carried.