CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – You’ve been tasked with being the cook for this year’s Thanksgiving meal for the family and friends but it’s important to know how to do it safely.

The State Fire Marshal is urging families to make fire safety a priority this Thanksgiving. The holiday is the number one day of the year for home fires in Massachusetts.

“There are about twice as many fires on Thanksgiving as on the next-closest day, and almost all of them start with unsafe cooking practices,” said State Fire Marshal John Davine. “Don’t let a fire ruin this special day with your family and loved ones.  Practice fire safety when cooking and heating your home, and be sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that can alert you to danger.”

Between 2018 and 2022, there were 721 Thanksgiving Day fires with 70 percent of them starting from cooking. In order to avoid a house fire this Thanksgiving, the State Fire Marshal’s office has shared these tips.

When cooking:

Keep the cooking area clean.

  • Clean up any grease that may have spilled
  • Keeping food packaging and towels away from any open flames
  • Point pot handles inward to prevent any accidental spilling
  • Make sure the oven is empty before heating it up
  • Wear clothing with short or tight-fitting sleeves, long sleeves can ignite if they are too close

Always be aware of what is cooking.

  • Be in the kitchen when boiling, broiling or frying food
  • Set timers to not lose track of time

Have a small fire? Here’s what to quickly do.

  • If something on the stovetop catches on fire, cover the pan with a lid or cookie sheet
  • Never try to douse a burning pan with water
  • If there is a fire in the microwave, leave the door closed and turn off the appliance
  • If you can’t stop a fire, get to safety and call 911.
  • If your clothing catches on fire, Stop, Drop and Roll!
  • A skin burn should be placed under water for 10 to 15 minutes

Keep your house maintained.

  • Have working smoke and CO alarms on every floor
  • Have appliances checked before using
  • If you are turning on the heat in your home for the first time this season, make sure to do an annual check-up or have your chimney cleaned

If you’re thinking of frying the turkey this year, be very cautious. Fire safety experts strongly discourage the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers. The risk of hot oil spilling then igniting is very high. In 2020, a turkey fryer fire in New Bedford caused several injuries and left almost 30 people without a home. The National Fire Protection Association recommends instead to use “oil-less” turkey fryers.

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