CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Everyone needs to make fire safety a priority in the kitchen as Thanksgiving is only a few days away.
Thanksgiving is the number one day for house fires in Massachusetts, according to State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. “Each year, we see about twice as many fires on Thanksgiving as on the next-closest day,” Ostroskey said. “Don’t let a fire ruin this special time 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.”
From 2017 to 2021, there have been 678 fires on Thanksgiving in Massachusetts alone, and 87% of them involved cooking at home. Those fires caused seven injuries, seven fire service injuries, and more than $3 million in losses. Residential; cooking fires have dropped, however, by more than 20% last year falling from 127 in 2020 to 97 in 2021 on Thanksgiving.
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey offers some cooking tips that everyone should follow for this holiday season:
- Be sure your oven is empty before turning it on.
- Keep flammable items away from the stovetop.
- Turn the pot handles inward over the stove.
- Remember to “stand by your pan” and stay in the kitchen when boiling, frying, or broiling.
- Use a timer when baking or roasting and never leave the house with the oven running.
- The best way to respond to a stovetop fire is to “put a lid on it” and turn off the heat.
- The best way to respond to an oven or broiler fire is to keep the oven doors closed and turn off the heat.
- If the fire is not quickly snuffed out, leave the house and call 9-1-1 from outside
The National Fire Protection Association says that at-home use of “turkey fryers that use cooking oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer.” It is recommended to use new “oil-less” turkey fryers for Thanksgiving.
Gas ovens present a hazard if they are used for several hours as well. If you have a kitchen exhaust fan, use it. If you do not have one, crack a window for some fresh air when using the gas oven for a long period of time. Working CO alarms are very important to protect you and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.