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Prevent Kitchen Fires this Holiday Season

It’s getting close to holiday time, when homes are filled with family and good food. Kitchens are busy places this time of year. And the Consumer Product Safety Commission points out that the result is an increase in kitchen fires.

The threat of kitchen fires triples on Thanksgiving Day, according to the commission. From 2009 to 2011, an average of 1,300 cooking fires occurred on Thanksgiving Day—more than three times the average daily rate of 400 fires. Not only are more of us cooking on Thanksgiving, but more of us are becoming victims of fires.

Overall, the commission estimates that on average each year, fire departments responded to 362,300 unintentional home fires. These fires caused an average each year of 2,260 deaths, 12,820 injuries, and $7 billion in property damage. Significantly, most of these fires were preventable.

The commission reminds every cook to “stand by your pan” and remain in the kitchen to prevent fires this Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season.

Tips for Staying Safe

There are several things you can do to ensure your home and family do not become fire statistics this year:

  1. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing while cooking. A long sleeve could easily catch fire as it brushes over the stove-top.
  2. Never leave a pot or pan unattended.
  3. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so they aren’t accidentally tipped.
  4. Keep children away from the stove while it is in use.
  5. Keep towels and other flammable materials far away from the stove.
  6. Use extreme caution when using a turkey fryer.
  7. Ensure all smoke alarms are in good working condition.
  8. Have an escape plan should a fire occur.

Turkey Fryers Pose Serious Fire Risks

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says it has received reports of more than 125 turkey fryer-related burns, fires, explosions or other injuries since 2003. These fryers are particularly dangerous and should never be used indoors. A fire can be explosive, sending hot, scalding oil into the air.

Many people think it is safe to use their fryers in the garage or on the deck. However, if a fire breaks out or an explosion occurs, these locations are not much better than having the fryer indoors. For that reason, move the fryer into the yard and away from the home.

Smoke Alarm Safety

Smoke alarms have proven to be life savers on many occasions. But in order for them to do their job, they have to be maintained. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once a year and test the alarms once a month.

The commission suggests having at least one alarm on each floor of the home. It recommends having the alarms outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom.

Approximately three of every five deaths in home fires happen in homes without smoke detectors. These relatively inexpensive devices could save your life or the life of a loved one.