Nashville, TN – As families prepare to gather for Thanksgiving Day feasts this Thursday, November 28th, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds Tennesseans that the recipe for holiday fire safety always includes adding good cooking safety habits.
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is the No. 1 day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment, with three times the average number of fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
An estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
In Tennessee, 23 percent of reported home structure fires in 2018 involved cooking equipment.
Those 1,565 fires resulted in seven civilian fatalities, 40 civilian injuries, three firefighter injuries and nearly $8.6 million of direct property damage, according to the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System.
The SFMO offers these Thanksgiving fire safety tips:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave the room, even for a moment, turn off the burner.
- Use a kitchen timer when boiling, simmering, baking, or roasting to remind yourself to check the cooking often.
- Use caution with turkey fryers. It is recommended that consumers utilize the oil-free models that are available or seek commercial professionals to prepare this entrée.
- Turkey fryers must always be used outdoors and a safe distance from buildings and other flammable materials.
- Never use turkey fryers indoors or on a wooden deck.
- Make sure the fryer is used on a flat surface to prevent accidental tipping.
- Never leave a turkey fryer unattended. Most fryer units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer, even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot for hours after use.
- To prevent spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups. The National Turkey Foundation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of weight.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease or oil fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department by dialing 911.
For more information on making your home fire-safe, download and print the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s home fire safety checklist.
About the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance
Protecting Tennesseans through balanced oversight of insurance and regulated professions while enhancing consumer advocacy, education, and public safety. Our divisions include the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Insurance, Securities, Regulatory Boards, Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy, Tennessee Emergency Communications Board, and TennCare Oversight.
To check a license of a professional regulated by the Department, go to http://verify.tn.gov/.