NORWALK, Conn. - With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the Norwalk Fire Department is asking residents to be extra cautious during holiday cooking.
Fire departments in the U.S. responded to an estimated average of 162,400 home cooking fires per year between 2009 and 2013, according to Norwalk fire officials. These fires resulted in an average of 430 civilian fire deaths, 5,400 injures reported, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage.
While the number of cooking fires increases on holidays, it's one of the leading causes of home fires all year. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three times as many cooking fires at home occur on Thanksgiving than on any typical day.
The Norwalk Fire Department reminds residents there are simple steps people can take to ensure safe cooking on Thanksgiving. A little added awareness about potential fire hazards and taking a few basic precautions in the kitchen can go a long way toward keeping your Thanksgiving fire-free.
- Remain in the kitchen while you’re cooking, and keep a close eye on what you fry.
- Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food.
- If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Regularly check on food that’s simmering, baking or roasting, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
- Keep things that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains away from the cooking area.
- Be alert when cooking, if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- If you have a small (grease) cooking fire on the stovetop and decide to fight the fire: Smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- If you’re cooking a turkey using a disposable aluminum pan, consider doubling up and using two pans to avoid a puncture, as dripping turkey juices can cause an oven fire.
- Make sure you have working smoke detectors in the home.
The Norwalk Fire Department discourages the idea of people using turkey fryers, despite it being a popular way to cook turkey on Thanksgiving. The department warns that the use of turkey fryers can lead to burns and other injuries, and the destruction of property from the large amount and high temperature of oil used.
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