Most cooking-related house fires happen on Thanksgiving. In fact, the number of fires that occur each year on Thanksgiving is four times greater than any other of the year. To help everyone celebrate safely, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has compiled some cooking safety tips.

Cooking is the leading cause of  house fires and their resulting injuries. So, it follows, that on holidays associated with a lot of cooking such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the number of fires also increases.

“The data suggests that it’s often a combination of factors that contribute to an increased risk of home cooking fires on Thanksgiving,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “People are preparing multiple dishes for many guests and there can be plenty of distraction in the home, which can make it all too easy to forget what’s on the stove. That’s when cooking mishaps are most likely to occur.”

To reduce the risk of a cooking-related fire, the NFPA advises:

  • Don’t leave the kitchen while you are cooking on the stovetop, especially when frying and sautéing with oil.
  • Don’t leave your home while the turkey is in the oven.
  • Check on the turkey frequently.
  • Stay alert and focused, avoid cooking when drinking alcohol or when you are tired.
  • Use a timer to keep track of cooking times. Consider putting timers in different rooms so you can hear them over the music, conversation, etc.
  • Check the stove or oven frequently.
  • Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers and towels away from the cooking area.
  • Don’t use a turkey fryer. They can cause serious burns and other injuries.  For those who prefer fried turkey, look for a retailer, grocery store or  specialty food store that prepares them.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the stove and cooking areas where they could be burned by hot foods, liquids or steam.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over toys, purses or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Keep electric cords out of reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children in a locked cabinet that is up high.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

A nonprofit organization founded in 1896, the NFPA’s goal is to eliminate death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire.

Thanksgiving meal