Thanksgiving is the number one day of the year across the U.S. for home-cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
In Mississippi alone, unattended cooking has been the main cause of seven fire deaths this year, an increase from the three cooking-related fire deaths that were reported in 2022.
As a result, the Mississippi Insurance Department and State Fire Marshal’s Office have released a list of tips for residents planning to cook during the Thanksgiving holiday.
- Turn off the stove if leaving the kitchen, even for a short amount of time
- Avoid wearing loose clothes or sleeves while cooking
- Enforce a “kid-free zone” of three feet around the stove
- Use stove’s back burners whenever possible if children are present
- Turn pot handles inward to reduce the risk of pots being knocked over
- Do not hold a small child while cooking
- Keep turkey fryers at a safe distance from buildings or other flammable materials when cooking outside
- Do not use fryers in a garage or on a wooden surface
- Use a flat surface while cooking to reduce accidental tipping
- Make sure turkey is adequately thawed 24 hours for every four to five pounds
“Make your home safer by installing multiple smoke alarms,” Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney stated. “Many people have family and friends over for the holiday. Don’t let distractions put you and your guests in danger.”
The State Fire Marshal’s Office also advises families to have a plan in case of a cooking-related fire and to follow these guidelines:
- Close the door behind you to contain the fire while exiting the building
- Notify emergency operators
- Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease or pot fires
- Turn off the heat and keep the door closed for cases of oven fires