Westmont, Illinois - Date Issued: November 9, 2022
The holiday season is approaching and that means many people will be working overtime in their kitchens. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) data, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and related injuries. Annually, U.S. fire departments respond to more than 160,000 home fires involving cooking equipment.
Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment with approximately four times the average number of home cooking fires occurring on this day. Ranges and cook-tops account for almost three out of every five home fires reported involving cooking, with ovens accounting for 13% of those fires.
“We encourage all of our citizens to be proactive in keeping your family safe during the holidays,” said Westmont Fire Chief Steve Riley. “Our Fire Prevention Bureau has put together some helpful tips to keep in mind to help ensure you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.”
SAFE COOKING TIPS
- Never leave food that you are frying, boiling, grilling or broiling unattended.
- If you leave the kitchen, even for a short amount of time, turn off the stove.
- Create a “Kid Free Zone” of at least three feet around the stove or anywhere you are preparing hot food or drinks.
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stove top.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you when the food is ready.
- If there is a fire in the oven, keep the door shut and turn off the heat.
- Smother small flames in a pan by sliding a lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and leave the lid over the pan while it cools.
TURKEY FRYING TIPS
Also, frying a turkey has become more popular in recent years. Please make sure to not overfill the fryer with oil. To help gauge the amount of cooking oil to put in the fryer, you can fill the fryer with water and place the turkey in - This will help you determine how much oil is needed without causing the oil to spill out when you are ready to fry, which could lead to a fire and other safety issues. Only use the turkey fryer outdoors. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before frying. Use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms when you handle the pot.
FALL & WINTER OUTDOOR FIRE SAFETY TIPS
Outdoor fire pits are popular this time of year, but it’s important to ensure you keep you and your property safe. Carefully consider placement of equipment, keeping anything that can burn well away. Outdoor portable heaters should be placed on a flat, sturdy surface and in a location where they can't be bumped into or knocked over. Fire pits should be located at least 10 feet away from the home/structure. In areas where campfires are permitted, they must be at least 25 feet away from any structure and anything that can burn. Also make sure to clear away dry leaves and sticks, overhanging low branches and shrubs. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from any type of equipment in use. Make sure combustible items, such as blankets and outerwear, are at least three feet away from equipment.
Always remember, in case of a fire or other emergency, do not hesitate - call 9-1-1.
Additional fire safety information can be found on the NFPA website https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Top-fire-causes/Cooking or on the Office of the State Fire Marshal website. https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/sfm/Pages/default.aspx