Cooking Up a Safe Holiday Season
Startling statistics underscore the need for caution in the kitchen
Holiday party planning begins now for many families, and Jeff Meadows of SERVPRO of West Forsyth County offers some important reminders to Winston-Salem residents to help ensure this season glows with the warmth of good food and good friends, and not with the glare of a devastating home fire.
“The holiday season is a time when many families plan big and elaborate meals for large groups of people,” says Meadows. “But all that cooking creates an extraordinary risk of fire. For a safe and festive holiday season, it’s important to understand that risk and take steps to minimize it.”
Cooking Fire Safety
Research from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reveals that in 2017, on average, U.S. fire departments responded to a home fire every 88 seconds.1 Cooking equipment was the leading cause2 of home fires and fire injuries, causing 47 percent of home fires. These fires resulted in 20 percent of the home fire deaths and 45 percent of the injuries.
“Winston-Salem families should keep these statistics in mind as the holidays approach. According to the NFPA, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve2,” says Meadows. “Families should also be aware that frying poses the greatest risk of fire, in fact, the NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil.3 this video graphically illustrates the danger these devices can pose.
Meadows offers these additional cooking safety tips from FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration.4
- Keep an eye on what you fry: If you see any smoke or the oil starts to boil, turn the burner off.
- Stand by your pan: If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so that no one can bump them or pull them over.
- Wear short sleeves or pull sleeves up: 18 percent of cooking fire fatalities in 2016 were caused by ignited clothing.2
- Keep a pot lid or cookie sheet nearby to cover a pan if it catches on fire.
“Taking common sense precautions like these and keeping kids and pets out of the kitchen during meal prep can help keep your holiday celebrations safe,” says Meadows. “The precautions you take could help prevent a devastating home fire, a tragic injury, or even the loss of life. While SERVPRO disaster response professionals are fire damage restoration specialists, they know how important it is to keep the focus on fire prevention, because for some types of loss, there is no remediation.”
SERVPRO is an industry leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services. For more fire prevention and fire safety tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit SERVPRO of West Forsyth County’s website. For more information on SERVPRO of West Forsyth County, please contact us at (336) 946-1131.