Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays of the year, considering it’s the one day of the year where families across the country come together to fellowship and give thanks for all that is good in their lives, and of course to enjoy great food!

Just as enjoyable as Thanksgiving can be, it can also take a turn for the worse if the proper precautions aren’t applied in the kitchen, or wherever you prepare your holiday grub. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the average number of home fires nearly double as compared to any other day during the year.

Here are a few guideline you may want to follow during the holidays, courtesy of the Louisianan 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.

• Also 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 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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