There is a high cost associated with home fires. In the United States, residential fires cause more deaths than any other type of fire. Fire departments in the United States responded to more than 350,000 home structure fires during this holiday period. These fires resulted in 2,620 civilian deaths (non-firefighters); 11,220 civilian injuries; and nearly $7 billion in property damage.
A kitchen is often the center of a home throughout the year. In addition, it is the place where most fires begin. Cooking is the most frequent cause of home fires and injuries and the second-leading cause of home fire deaths.
According to the NFPA, everyday appliances can also pose a danger:
- Home cooking fires involving ranges or cooktops accounted for 62 percent of reported fires, 89 percent of fire deaths, and 79 percent of fire injuries.
- Cooking fires and their consequences are more likely to occur in households with electric ranges than in those with gas ranges.
- More than 14 percent of the home cooking fire deaths were caused by clothing ignitions.
- Sleeping people make up almost 30 percent of the victims of cooking fires.
- It is estimated that more than half (53 percent) of non-fatal injuries occur when people attempt to control a fire themselves.
And each year, the statistics on cooking fires peak on Thanksgiving.
There is no doubt that the danger of dropping a big bird into hot oil is a big contributor (it is) … but deep-fried turkey is not the primary reason that the fire incident numbers are so high. A major cause of Thanksgiving cooking fires is: unattended cooking.
The Thanksgiving holiday is a time for family and friends to get together for a big meal. Kitchens across the country become gathering places where kids run around and adults argue about politics amid the buzz of appliances. You can easily get distracted if you add alcohol to the mix.
- When preparing food on the stovetop, make sure you remain in the kitchen to keep an eye on it.
- Keep an eye on your turkey when it is cooking, and stay in the house.
- While simmering, baking, or roasting food, you should stay inside and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking. Put timers in different rooms so you can hear them over music and party chatter.
- Stay alert! Do not use the stove or stovetop if you are sleepy or have consumed too much alcohol.
- You should keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains.
- Make sure children stay three feet away from hot stoves and avoid hot liquids and food that may cause serious burns. Knives, matches, and utility lighters should be kept out of reach of children, and electrical cords from appliances should not be hanging off the counter within easy reach.
- With a candle lit, never leave children alone in the room.
- To prevent tripping, keep the floor free of toys, bags, etc.
- Take precautions this holiday season, and you’ll only have to deal with family political arguments.
- Cover a stovetop pan with a lid if it’s burning on the stovetop. The pan should be covered until it has cooled completely.
- Turn off the heat and keeping the door closed is the best way to prevent an oven fire.
- Get everyone out of the house if you have any doubts about fighting a small fire. Make sure you close the door behind you to contain the fire, and contact fire safety helpline number.
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