A couple is cooking a pan of food on an electric stovetop

Stay Safe While Preparing Holiday Meals

Follow these cooking tips to ensure a safe holiday

In preparation for the holiday season, the Raleigh Fire Department is sharing information and tips on how to safely prepare your holiday meals. 

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries, and these cases are at their highest level during the holidays, when we cook the most.

“During the holiday season we have more distractions due to the festivities,” says Fire Lieutenant Lemuel Hubbard. “When you are cooking holiday meals, stay in the kitchen while cooking on your stovetop. If you must leave the kitchen, turn off the stovetop burners. This simple behavior will keep your home safe from unattended cooking fires.”

Safety Tips for Frying a Turkey

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving Day is the peak day for fires caused by cooking, with about 1,000 home fires occurring on that day in the United States.

The Raleigh Fire Department and the Office of State Fire Marshal offer the following safety tips for frying turkeys:

  • Use extreme caution when cooking with oil. Hot oil can spill or splash onto the flame, igniting a fire. Also, oil inside a turkey cooker pot can stay dangerously hot for hours after use.
  • Don’t overheat the oil. Cooking oil, if heated beyond its cooking temperature (375 degrees), can ignite.
  • Always operate turkey fryers outside. They should also not be used under a garage, deck, breezeway, porch, barn, or any structure that can catch fire.
  • Make sure the turkey has thawed completely before putting it in a turkey fryer. Frozen, or partially frozen turkeys, will cause hot oil to splatter or produce hot steam, which leads to burns.
  • NEVER use water to extinguish a grease fire!

Watch our turkey frying video to learn more.

'Don't Cook If You Can't Look'

The primary cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Here are some tips to help you prevent such a fire in your home:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you’re frying food or cooking with oil or grease.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Never cook when you’re tired, medicated or intoxicated.
  • Keep things that can catch fire, such as potholders, oven mitts, paper or plastic bags, and curtains away from the stovetop.
  • Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and can catch fire.
  • Keep kids at least three feet from the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small fire erupts in the pan, slide a lid over the pan, turn off the stove, and let the pan cool.
  • In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing. After a fire, the oven should be checked and/or serviced before being used again.
  • If you have a stove fire and it doesn’t go out, get out of the home and call 911.

For more information, contact the City of Raleigh Office of the Fire Marshal, division of Fire and Life Safety Education at 919-996-6392.




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