Safety Tips for Avoiding Cooking Fires on Thanksgiving

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The COVID-19 pandemic is prompting more people to cook at home this Thanksgiving. Typically, there are more than 1,400 cooking fires on the holiday, and that number is expected to increase this year.

But there are things you can do to reduce your risk.

Grease fires are the number one accident, said James Hickman of the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office in New York. And putting out the fire the wrong way can just make them worse.

“People panic,” Hickman told Inside Edition. “Their No. 1 reaction is to throw water on a fire. That’s exactly what you don’t want to do with a grease fire. It spreads it. It could hurt you and spread the fire into the rest of the kitchen.”

Instead, it’s best to put a pot lid over a grease fire or use a fire extinguisher to put it out, Hickman said.

Everyone loves fried turkey, but fire safety demonstrations show how dangerous they can be if not prepared carefully.

“Don’t put a frozen turkey in the boiling oil. That is the number one cause of the fires getting out of control around the country. And you need to gently, carefully, cautiously lower the turkey into the oil,” Hickman said.

It’s also important to pay attention as you cook. “Don’t walk away even for a minute,” Hickman said.

Other tips include:

  • Avoid loose-fitting clothes and long sleeves that can catch fire
  • Keep flammable items like paper bags away from the stove
  • Turn handles toward the back of the stove to avoid tipping them over
  • Make sure you have a working smoke detector


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