PARK FOREST – While Thanksgiving celebrations may be smaller this year, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) joins the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office in sharing tips to ensure families stay safe in the kitchen.
“With many families changing their plans and staying home this Thanksgiving, they could be preparing this traditional meal for the first time,” Joyce said. “It’s important for families to take precautions to avoid fire hazards while cooking to prevent an accident.”
According to National Fire Protection Association and National Fire Incident Reporting System data, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 166,100 home fires per year involving cooking equipment. Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment, with four times the average number occurring.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing food, not just during the holiday season but all year:
- 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.
- Frying a turkey has become more popular in recent years.
- Make sure to not overfill oil in the fryer. Fill the pot you plan to use to fry the turkey with water and place the turkey in. This will help to determine how much oil is needed without causing oil to spill out when you are ready to fry, which could lead to a fire.
- Use the turkey fryer outdoors only.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before frying.
- Use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms when you handle the pot.
- Create a “Kid Free Zone” of at least three feet around the stove or anywhere you are preparing hot food or drinks.
- Keep the area around the stove clear of towels, papers, potholders or anything that can burn.
- 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 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.
- If you have any doubt fighting a small fire, just get out. Call 9-1-1 or your emergency number from outside the home.
Joyce is also encouraging residents to check their homes to ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.