Above /  If your family is cooking on this all-American holiday— gathering together, catching up on family news and pitching in to prepare a bountiful spread— consider some safety tips from fire professionals to assure a good reunion. And be mindful that Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires.

Naperville, Illinois – According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking is the leading cause of home fires on Thanksgiving Day. A cooking fire is three times more likely on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year.

“Most fires on Thanksgiving occur between noon and 4PM – the peak cooking hours,” noted John Sergeant, President of the Naperville Professional Firefighters, in a news release. “A lot of those fires can be easily avoided by staying alert and in the kitchen while cooking.”

Many home cooking fires are caused by unattended equipment, abandoned material, a heat source left too close to flammable materials, product misuse and cooking equipment that is not properly turned off.

The use of turkey fryers – which use a large amount of cooking oil at high temperatures – also poses a significant danger and can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property. Naperville Professional Firefighters recommend seeking out grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants for preparation or using an oil-less fryer that cooks with infrared heat.

Have a kitchen fire? Go outside immediately… Call 9-1-1

If you have a cooking fire, go outside and call 9-1-1 for the help of your local fire fighters. Do not try to fight the fire yourself.

Create ‘Kid-Free’ Zone’

Thanksgiving is also a high time for cooking related burns. To prevent scalds and burns, cook on back burners and make sure all pot handles are turned inward so children don’t come into contact with them. Appliances that get hot, such as toaster ovens, should also be well out of a child’s reach. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared or carried.

The Naperville Professional Firefighters urge you to cook with caution and wish you a happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Report submitted by Tom Kriss for the Naperville Professional Firefighters.

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