The average number of home fires nearly double during Thanksgiving in comparison to other days during the year, says the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). With that said, keep Thanksgiving enjoyable by taking the proper precautions in the kitchen and outdoors when preparing your food.

Here are some tips to follow during the holidays, courtesy of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office.

  • When cooking in a kitchen, whether frying, broiling, or boiling, the kitchen should never be left unattended.
  • Maintain a safe cooking area by moving flammable objects away from heat sources. In addition, turning pot handles toward the rear of the stovetop helps keep them from getting bumped and/or dragged off the stove.
  • Always monitor what you’re cooking, as it cooks. Use a timer when roasting a turkey to prevent overcooking.
  • Be prepared in the event of a fire by keeping a large pan lid or baking sheet near to smother a pan fire. It is always a great idea to have and know where a fire extinguisher is located in the event of a fire.
  • Stay alert while cooking. If oil or grease starts to smoke or boil in the pan, turn the burner off.
  • Wear short sleeves or roll long sleeves up while cooking and avoid leaning over the stovetop where clothing can catch fire. Also, use potholders and oven mitts when handling cookware.
For those who prefer frying their turkeys, the USFA suggests the following:
  • To avoid spillage of hot cooking oil, which can cause horrendous injury, care should be taken in positioning turkey fryers as they can be easily tipped over.
  • Be careful that cooking oil levels are appropriate for the size of turkey being cooked, as overflowing oil can cause a large fire.
  • It is recommended that turkeys be completely thawed before inserting them into heated cooking oil. Frozen turkeys can cause oil to splatter, which may lead to injuries and/or fires.
  • If possible, use a thermometer or thermostat controls to avoid overheating the oil. Oil that is heated to its ignition point will catch fire.
  • Remember that the handles, sides, and lids of pots can become dangerously hot.

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