Stand by your pan: Thanksgiving is the leading day for fires from cooking


When most people think of Thanksgiving, they think of a nice day languishing over the dinner table with family and friends … or perhaps heading out to catch a local football game. Most people don’t think of it as a particularly risky day – but according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving the leading day for home cooking fires, with roughly 3 times the daily average. On Thanksgiving 2007, U.S. firefighters responded to 1,300 cooking fires.
According to NFPA, cooking equipment was involved in:

  • 40% of all reported home fires
  • 17% of home fire deaths
  • 6% of home civilian injuries
  • 12% of the direct property damage resulting from home fires

More facts about home cooking fires:

  • Unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in these fires. Something that could catch fire was too close to the equipment ranked second and unintentionally turned on or not turned off ranked third.
  • Ranges accounted for the largest share (59%) of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16%.
  • Households that use electric ranges have a higher risk of fires and associated losses than those using gas ranges.
  • In a 1999 study of range fires by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 83% of frying fires began in the first 15 minutes of cooking.
  • Three-fifths of the reported home cooking fire injuries occurred when victims tried to fight the fire themselves. If you have a fire

See more facts about kitchen fires from NFPA
We’ve compiled some best practices when it comes to kitchen safety and fire prevention:

  • Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food or have food on the stove top. If you are called away, turn off the burner.
  • Never cook while sleepy, intoxicated, or heavily medicated
  • Keep children and pets out of the kitchen
  • Avoid loose clothing while cooking. Roll up sleeves, tie back hair
  • Ensure that cooking utensils and cooking surfaces are clean and grease-free
  • Turn pan handles on the stove top inward
  • Be careful of steam when opening oven doors, uncovering pots, or taking food from the microwave
  • Keep towels, potholders and other combustible materials off and away from the stove
  • Check appliance cords for fraying or for loose plugs
  • Don’t overload electrical circuits with appliances
  • Have non-slip floor mats in front of the stove and the sink
  • Keep spray cans away from the stove
  • Have Class ABC fire extinguishers available and learn how to use them
  • Have first aid kits handy in case of burns
  • If you have a fire in the microwave, keep the door closed and unplug it
  • Never put water on a grease fire. Try covering it with a lid or extinguishing it with baking powder.

More tips on cooking safely and what to do if you have a kitchen fire from NFPA.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!