By Forum Staff
The holiday season is almost here, and it is a time when home cooking activities are at their peak. Unfortunately, all this cooking leads to a related peak in cooking fires, according to the fire and water remediation specialist SERVPRO President and COO John Sooker. Cooking fires are responsible for nearly half (49 percent) of all home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. “To help keep your holidays from, literally, going up in smoke, it’s critical to know and use safe cooking practices,” Sooker said.
According to the NFPA, Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home cooking fires, with more than three times the daily average for such incidents. Sooker urged home cooks to take some basic safety steps recommended by the NFPA to help prevent cooking fires: Keep your cooking area clean and keep anything that can burn (dish towels, oven mitts, packaging) at least three feet away from cooking equipment; keep a close eye on what’s cooking, setting a timer to help you monitor foods with longer cooking times; keep in mind that the leading contributing factor to cooking fires and to fire deaths overall is unattended cooking, so plan to be at home and in or near the kitchen at all times when cooking.
“For those who use a turkey fryer to cook their Thanksgiving bird, it’s important to note that more than two-thirds of home cooking fires begin with the ignition of cooking materials, including food, fat, and grease. The NFPA strongly discourages the use of these fryers. They use large amounts of oil at high temperatures, which can lead to the type of fire seen here (pictured). If you do use one, follow all placement, use, and safety instructions carefully,” Sooker said.