EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is urging those in the kitchen this Thanksgiving Day to use caution when cooking as the holiday is the leading day of the year for home cooking fires.

According to NFPA, an estimated 1,160 home cooking fires are reported to U.S. fire departments on Thanksgiving Day, a 297 percent increase compared to the daily average.

“Thanksgiving is a hectic holiday with multiple dishes cooking and baking at the same time, along with lots of guests, entertaining, and other distractions that can make it easy to lose sight of what’s on the stove or in the oven. With all these factors at play, it’s not surprising that the number of cooking fires spikes so dramatically,” explained Lorraine Carli, Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA.

So, the NFPA is throwing out the following Turkey Day tips to stay safe while cooking in the kitchen.

  • Never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Some types of cooking, especially those that involve frying or sauteeing with oil, need continuous attention.
  • When cooking a turkey, remain at home and check it regularly.
  • Make use of timers to keep track of cooking times, particularly for foods that require longer cooking times.
  • Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels at least three feet away from the cooking area.
  • Avoid long sleeves and hanging fabrics that can come in contact with a heat source.
  • Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If a small grease fire starts, smother the flames by sliding the lid over the pan, then turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Only open the door once you`re confident the fire is completely out, standing to the side as you do. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact the fire department for assistance.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried. Hot foods and liquids should be placed away from the table and counter edges.
  • In addition, NFPA strongly discourages the use of turkey fryers that use cooking oil, which can cause devastating burns. For a safe alternative, NFPA recommends purchasing a fried turkey from a grocery store or restaurant or buying a fryer that does not use oil.

“Keeping a close eye on what`s cooking and minimizing the likelihood of getting distracted are key steps people can take to ensure a festive, fire-free holiday,” added Carli.

The NFPA says, cooking is the leading cause of U.S. home fires and injuries, and the second-leading cause of home fire deaths and unattended cooking is the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.

Overall, enjoy the holiday with your loved ones, have a Happy Thanksgiving, and remember while in the kitchen to stay safe.

For more information on codes and standards visit NFPA’s website.