Marriotsville, Md. — Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 172,100 home structure fires per year started by cooking activities in 2012-2016, or an average of 471 home cooking fires per day. These fires caused an average of 530 civilian deaths, 5,270 reported civilian fire injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage per year. The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) is reminding residents to be proactive and stay safe.
As you make Thanksgiving preparations this year, keep in mind the following tips:
• Test smoke alarms monthly.
• During peak cooking times, try to keep children and pets out of the kitchen; this will
ensure that they are not accidentally injured. Create a three-foot “kid and pet free zone.”
• Do not leave the home while cooking and minimize time out of the kitchen.
• Set up cooking appliances in a place that will not be easily tipped over.
• Ensure you place turkey fryers on a hard, level and non-combustible outdoor surface.
Turkey friers should not be used in a garage, under a deck or balcony.
Thoroughly thaw the turkey before cooking. Partially frozen turkeys can cause a spillover or a flare up.
• Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
• Do not use water in an attempt to extinguish a grease fire. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher on hand.
• Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
• Keep anything combustible – food packaging, towels, and oven mitts away from the stove top.
• If a fire or emergency incident does occur, remember to evacuate immediately, close the door behind you in order to slow the grow of smoke and fire, and then call 911 from a safe location.
For more information about fire prevention tips and safety, visit our social media pages @HCDFRS or the National Fire Protection Association’s site: www.nfpa.org/thanksgiving