Thanksgiving is a time of gathering together to celebrate all of the blessings one has received throughout the year. It is also a time for the four F’s: family, food, fun, and, unfortunately, fires. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, Thanksgiving is the day the United States experiences the most home cooking fires. These types of fires cause massive amounts of damage to people and property. Luckily, there are steps everyone can take to decrease their risk of falling prey to a home cooking fire.
Test Fire Alarms Before Cooking
Once a fire has begun is not the time to find that a fire alarm is not in proper working order. Testing fire alarms ensures that smoke will be detected immediately, which gives the Thanksgiving Day chef ample time to put out any fires that might occur.
Never Leave Food Unattended
The oven and stove are in use throughout the day. Cooks often step aside to take a break while appliances remain in use. FEMA states that this action is the number one cause of home cooking fires. If one must leave a stove unattended, the oven and all elements must be turned off until the cook can return.
Avoid Loose-Fitting Clothes
It is rare for clothing to catch fire during meal preparation. However, when clothing items are ignited, the incident is more likely to be fatal. Chefs can help to avoid injury by wearing short-sleeved shirts or those that fit closely to the skin.
Clean the Cooking Space
Spilled grease and food can easily ignite. Make sure the cooking space is clear from residue and debris. Don’t forget to clean the microwave, roaster, and any other heating elements that may be employed.
Choose Healthier Options
Most fires are started by those who choose to fry their food. Instead of using heavy grease and oils, opt for baked or roasted turkey. Slow cooked turkey is another good option that produces a moist, tasty bird. Choosing to use the oven instead of the range not only increases health, it also decreases the worries associated with home cooking fires.
Keep Small Children Occupied
The holidays often bring a large number of small children together. Keep them playing safely away from heat sources by planning activities well in advance. Appoint other adults to act as babysitters throughout the day, set aside a room in the home as a kids’ only play area, or give them their own chores that keep them safe while they help with Thanksgiving preparations.
Strategize the Cooking Schedule
Rather than employ the oven and range throughout the day, plan the meal ahead of time. Most dishes can be made a day or two before Thanksgiving. Store foods like cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie safely in the refrigerator until it is time to reheat them for the big day. This relaxes the burden on the stove top and on the chef.
Install Fire Systems
More than simple battery powered fire alarms, fire systems can be installed to cater to the needs of every home chef. These systems react immediately to the threat of fire. They can also detect heat and gas. When appropriate, fire systems release agents that extinguish the fires as well.
Plan ahead when cooking for Thanksgiving to keep everyone safe and satisfied!