The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) and Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department reminds the community to avoid being careless or distracted when it comes to kitchen safety as families gather to give thanks for a prosperous year.
National and state statistics show Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment. The results in Tennessee were devastating. In 2014, Tennessee residents sustained over $8.8 million in property losses due to fires involving cooking materials. Nationally, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated average of 5 deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss.
“Unattended cooking is the leading contributing factor in all cooking fires,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak. “I urge Tennesseans to celebrate Thanksgiving safely in 2015 by remembering some simple but important rules when they’re in the kitchen.”
The SFMO offers these safety tips (and this helpful graphic) as a reminder to cook smart this year.
· Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself when you are cooking.
· Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling, grilling or broiling.
· Never leave the fryer unattended. Most fryer units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
· Never let children or pets near the fryer, even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot for hours after use.
· To prevent spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
· Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
· The National Turkey Foundation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of weight.
· Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease or oil fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department by dialing 911.
“Another important thing to remember is making sure your home is equipped with the right amount of working smoke alarms,” said MFRD Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks. “Having working smoke alarms in your home can cut your risk of fire related death in half.”
MFRD offers a free smoke alarm program called Project SAFE “Smoke Alarms for Everyone.” If you live in the city limits of Murfreesboro, MFRD personnel will come to your home, access your need for smoke alarms, and install the proper amount of alarms free of charge. To take advantage of this program, contact MFRD Administration Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm at 615-893-1422.