Reducing your risk for kitchen fires

NFPA discourages people from using turkey fryers.

(WWLP) – Reported cooking fires have increased from 2012 to 2014, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

NFPA’s latest study found that cooking is the leading cause of home fires and injuries in the country. These reported fires peak on Thanksgiving, making it the leading day for home cooking fires.

“The data suggests that it’s often a combination of factors that contribute to an increased risk of home cooking fires on Thanksgiving,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “People are preparing multiple dishes for many guests and there can be plenty of distraction in the home, which can make it all too easy to forget what’s on the stove. That’s when cooking mishaps are most likely to occur.”

Though cooking fires peak on Thanksgiving, unattended cooking on any day can lead to a kitchen fire. NFPA reports that unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of cooking fires and fire deaths.

Lieutenant C.J. Bartone of the West Springfield Fire Department told 22News, “We deep fry our turkeys outside. Never try to deep fry a frozen bird. Oil and water aren’t going to mix, so a frozen bird is frozen water therefore your going to end up with some problems.”

From 2010 to 2014, U.S. fire departments were called to nearly 166,100 home cooking fires each year. In that span, 480 civilians died in cooking fires, while 5,540 people were injured.

Ways to reduce the risk of cooking fires:

  • Stay in the kitchen while cooking, especially when frying foods and using oil
  • Use a timer to keep track of cooking times, especially when cooking meals that take a long time in the oven (like a turkey on Thanksgiving).
  • In addition to the oven timer, consider setting one on your cell phone that way you can hear it wherever you go in the house.
  • Move things like oven mitts, towels, wooden utensils and napkins away from the stove and oven.

NFPA discourages the use of turkey fryers on Thanksgiving. The association says the large amount of oil used by turkey fryers at a very high temperature is extremely dangerous.