Mammoth Lakes Fire Department warns of Cooking Dangers
Three Times as Many Cooking Fires Occur on Thanksgiving as on a Typical Day
submitted by Mammoth Lakes Fire Department:
The holidays should be a time of food, fun and festivities but it is also a time for extra caution. Thousands of home fires across the nation are caused by holiday cooking activities. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment and many of these fires are caused by unsafe cooking practices.
NFPA’s latest cooking estimates shows that there were 1,550 cooking fires on Thanksgiving in 2014, reflecting a 210 percent increase over the daily average. Home cooking fires also spike on other major U.S. holidays, including Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and Memorial Day weekend. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires.
While the number of cooking fires spikes on holidays, it’s also one of the leading causes of home fire year-round. Between 2009 and 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 162,400 home cooking fires per year. These fires resulted in an annual average of 430 civilian fire deaths, 5,400 reported injuries and $1.1 billion in direct property damage.
Be on alert and keep these tips in mind this holiday cooking celebration:
⦁ Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Regularly check on food that’s simmering, baking or roasting, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
⦁ Keep things that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains away from the cooking area.
⦁ Be alert when cooking. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
⦁ If you have a small (grease) cooking fire on the stovetop and decide to fight the fire: Smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
⦁ If you’re cooking a turkey using a disposable aluminum pan, consider doubling up and using two pans to avoid a puncture, as dripping turkey juices can cause an oven fire.
If you have a cooking fire:
⦁ Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
⦁ Call 9-1-1 after you leave.
⦁ If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
NFPA discourages the use of turkey fryers, a popular cooking method on Thanksgiving. The use of turkey fryers can lead to devastating burns and other injuries, and the destruction of property due to the large amount and high temperature of oil used. If a fryer is used, please be extra careful and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you have any questions or wish additional information, please feel free to contact the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department at 760 934-2300