Turkey, family, football … and safety.
On Thanksgiving, you can’t enjoy the ubiquitous first trio without the latter, so on the worst day annually for reported home-cooking fires, that safety begins in the kitchen.
Remaining attentive in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day is an excellent place to start since unattended stovetop cooking is by far the leading cause of household fires. That is more than triple the average of 430 on a typical day, averaging 1,400 nationally, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Southern California Edison, like fire departments and public safety officials nationwide, urges precautions and prevention on a day when fire and electrical hazards can lead to an average of five fatalities, 25 injuries and $26 million in property damage.
“The good news is that most cooking fires are preventable with vigilance and awareness,” said Adam Dow, principal manager of Operational Risk Management & Public Safety at SCE. “So, whether entertaining, checking on a game or talking on the phone, you should never leave your stovetop cooking unattended. If you leave it even briefly, turn off the stove or get someone to watch it.”
Underscoring the need for attentiveness is that two-thirds of the fires are ignited by cooking materials, including food, and half are ignited by cooking oil, grease buildup and related substances.
Another significant Thanksgiving hazard, turkey fryers, are still not recommended by the fire association at home because they can lead to severe burns and property damage. UL Solutions, the global product safety testing company formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories, still does not certify them. The safer method would be to purchase a deep-fried turkey from restaurants, grocers or food retailers instead of trying to do it yourself.
SCE provides additional dos and don’ts for celebrating Thanksgiving safely:
- Keep the stovetop and oven free of grease buildup that can ignite a fire.
- Turn off the heat and keep the door closed for an oven fire.
- Ensure that appliances bear the labels of trusted independent safety organizations like UL Solutions.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
- Use a timer for your cooking, if necessary.
- Check that everything is turned off when finished.
- Never keep anything combustible — oven mitts, towels, packaging — near the stovetop.
- Never plug more than one large appliance, like a refrigerator, into an outlet.
- Never plug large appliances like refrigerators into extension cords.
- Never connect two extension cords to extend their length or place them in pinched positions.
- Never let electrical cords dangle off counters within easy reach of children and pets.
- Keep electrical cords away from high-traffic areas and under-rugs to prevent trips and falls.