Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, family gatherings, and, of course, indulging in delicious meals. The aroma of roasted turkey from the kitchen might be one of the best smells, but it’s important to remember that the kitchen can also be a place of potential danger. Cooking is the core reason behind 49% of home fires. With the extensive cooking involved during this holiday, the risk of kitchen fires increases significantly – kitchen fires are from 3 to 4 times more likely to occur. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you ensure a safe Thanksgiving by following these seven essential kitchen fire safety tips. By taking the necessary precautions, you can protect your loved ones, eat well, and enjoy a worry-free celebration. Let’s dive in!
7 Thanksgiving Kitchen Fire Safety Tips
- Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy
- Stay in the Kitchen While Cooking
- Keep Flammable Items Away from Heat Sources
- Watch Out for Grease Fires
- Regularly Clean Appliances and Cooking Surfaces
- Use Timers and Alarms
- Have an Escape Plan
Tip 1: Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy
A fire extinguisher in your kitchen can be a lifesaver in a fire emergency. A fire extinguisher can quickly and effectively suppress a small fire before it spreads and becomes unmanageable. When selecting a fire extinguisher for your kitchen, opt for one that is specifically designed for cooking-related fires, such as a Class B or C extinguisher.
Choosing a suitable sized extinguisher is also crucial. Two-pound extinguishers may be too small to get the job done, whereas 10-pound extinguishers might not fit conveniently near your stove. In these instances, a 5-pound extinguisher can provide fast-acting protection.
Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher effectively is just as crucial as having one. Need a handy way to know how to use one? Remember the acronym PASS:
P – Pull the pin.
A – Aim at the base of the fire.
S – Squeeze the handle.
S – Sweep from side to side.
Before attempting to use the extinguisher, ensure you are familiar with its instructions, as different extinguishers may have specific guidelines. Remember to keep a safe distance from the flames and aim at the base of the fire rather than the flames themselves.
Tip 2: Stay in the Kitchen While Cooking
It’s easy to get caught up in other household tasks or become engrossed in a phone call or TV show, but it’s essential to stay in the kitchen while cooking. Unattended cooking is a leading cause of kitchen fires. Even a tiny distraction can escalate into a dangerous situation.
Here are some strategies to manage distractions and stay focused on cooking tasks. First, plan your cooking activities, allowing yourself enough time to complete the task without feeling rushed. Minimize potential interruptions by turning off or silencing your phone and avoiding engaging in other activities that could divert your attention away from the stove – looking at you, football.
If you need to step away from the kitchen briefly, such as to answer the door, turn off the stove or move the pots and pans to a cool burner. This precautionary measure reduces the risk of accidental fires caused by unattended cooking.
Tip 3: Keep Flammable Items Away from Heat Sources
In the hustle and bustle of cooking, you must be mindful of any flammable items near your cooking surfaces. Everyday flammable items found in kitchens include oven mitts, dish towels, paper towels, cooking oils, and even plastic or wooden utensils. The heat generated by stovetops, ovens, and other cooking appliances can ignite these items, leading to a dangerous situation.
The good news is that this issue is easy to solve:
- Keep flammable items away from heat sources.
- Ensure that oven mitts, dish towels, and other fabric materials are stored safely from stovetops and ovens.
- Avoid draping or placing fabric near open flames or hot surfaces.
It’s also important to keep cooking oils and other flammable liquids away from direct heat sources, as the high temperatures can cause them to ignite.
Another tip to consider is to organize your kitchen and create a safe environment that minimizes the chances of accidents. Remember, prevention is vital to fire safety, so flammable items are kept away from heat sources.
Tip 4: Watch Out for Grease Fires
A little Thanksgiving breakfast bacon is a perfect way to start a holiday, but it’s important to remember that cooking with oils and fats comes with potential risks. Grease fires can ignite quickly and spread rapidly, causing extensive damage and risking lives.
First and foremost, do NOT use water to extinguish a grease fire. Water is only going to make the situation worse. Instead, use a fire extinguisher (remember PASS), fire blanket or pot lid to smother the fire by cutting off its oxygen supply. If the fire gets too large to handle, evacuate immediately and call emergency services.
Of course, prevention is the best way to keep a grease fire from happening. When cooking with oil, warm the oil slowly and watch closely so that the oil doesn’t overheat. If your oil starts smoking, you need to turn down the burner. Also, if you’re using a gas range, use the right amount of oil. Dropping food into a pan that’s too full of cooking oil may cause the oil to spill over and into the gas flames, igniting them and starting a fire.
Tip 5: Regularly Clean Appliances and Cooking Surfaces
Cleaning appliances and cooking surfaces is not only important for hygiene (no one wants to be remembered as the chef who poisoned the family) but also plays a crucial role in preventing kitchen fires. Over time, grease and residue can accumulate on stovetops, ovens, and other cooking equipment, creating a potential fire hazard.
We know you have a lot going on the week of Thanksgiving, but it’s worth the peace of mind to dedicate a couple of hours to cleaning up your kitchen before you start your marathon cooking session.
Key areas to clean include:
- Vent Hood
- Toaster Oven
By maintaining a clean and well-maintained kitchen, you create a safer environment for cooking and reduce the chances of accidental fires caused by built-up grease and residue.
Tip 6: Use Timers and Alarms
Timers and alarms not only help with cooking precision, but they can also play a role in fire prevention. Timers are an excellent tool to ensure that food doesn’t burn, keeping you safe from potential fire hazards (and overcooked food). By setting a timer, you can also focus on other tasks without worrying about forgetting the food on the stove or in the oven.
In addition to kitchen timers, it is crucial to have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms installed near the kitchen. Smoke detectors can quickly alert you to smoke, indicating a potential fire. Carbon monoxide alarms detect the presence of this odorless, colorless gas that can be emitted during cooking processes. These alarms provide early warning signs, enabling you to take immediate action.
There are a ton of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms available on the market, but our recommended choice is CPI Smart Home Alarms. Our smart alarms not only function as traditional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but they also offer advanced features like remote monitoring and notifications, ensuring that you stay informed about any potential fire risks even when you are away from home. Additionally, CPI fire and carbon monoxide alarms are monitored 24/7 by CPI’s professional monitoring center, so even if you are unable to contact emergency services, someone from CPI will do it for you.
Tip 7: Have an Escape Plan
Even if you take all the above precautions, a kitchen fire can still occur and become unmanageable. In these instances, knowing how to evacuate quickly and safely can make a significant difference. It’s essential to create an escape plan that includes multiple exit routes from different areas of your home. Be sure to share this plan with your family and practice, practice, practice so that everyone is confident in its execution.
Remember to periodically review and update your fire escape plan as needed, especially if there are changes to your home’s layout or if family members have grown or moved out. By having a well-prepared escape plan and regularly practicing it, you increase the chances of a safe and efficient evacuation for everyone in your household in the event of a fire.
Cheers to Thanksgiving Kitchen Fire Safety
Thanksgiving is a beautiful time to celebrate with friends and family. By keeping these Thanksgiving fire safety tips, you can focus on the fun and avoid any holiday-ruining disasters. Side note: if your holiday cooking plan includes frying a turkey (versus oven roasting), check out our blog post on how to deep fry a turkey (along with three of our favorite recipes).
And speaking of safety, if you want to take your home security to the next level, we’ve got you covered. Our state-of-the-art security systems provide peace of mind, whether at home or away. From smart cameras and smoke alarms to 24/7 monitoring, our solutions are designed to keep your loved ones and property safe from potential threats. Reach out to our team today to learn more about how we can help you protect what matters most.
So, as you embark on your holiday cooking adventures, remember to prioritize safety, share these tips with others, and consider investing in a comprehensive security system. Together, let’s create a season filled with joy, delicious food, and most importantly, a safe and secure environment for all.