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Safety tips for cooking on Thanksgiving

More home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day


Last updated 11/27/2019 at 1:47pm

As Thanksgiving approaches, take some time to brush up on home fire safety and prevention tips before preparing the holiday feast. Red Cross has provided 10 safety tips to avoid burning the whole house down.

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires in the U.S. Red Cross urges everyone to never leave cooking food unattended, which is the most common cause of kitchen fires.

Safety tips:

1. Keep an eye on what you fry. Stay in the kitchen and never leave cooking food unattended. If the chef must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.

2. Clean and clear the area around the stove before turning on the heat.

3. Move items that can burn away from the stove. These include towels, bags, boxes, paper, and curtains.

4. Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

5. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.

6. Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.

7. Fires can start when the heat is too high. When frying food, turn the burner off if there is smoke or if the grease starts to boil. Carefully remove the pan from the burner.

8. Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

9. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.

10. Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to ensure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.

The Red Cross also advises people to test their smoke alarms and practice their home fire escape plan until everyone in the household can get out in two minutes or less. Visit for more information and free resources.

Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster, representing most of the 62,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to each year in the U.S. In fiscal year 2019, local Red Cross volunteers responded to 966 home fires throughout the region.

The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign has also saved at least 658 lives nationwide by working with partners to install free smoke alarms in at-risk areas and educate families about home fire safety. In the northwest region, Red Cross and local partners have installed more than 21,000 free smoke alarms.


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