Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 19, 2021

Take care against fire, accidents this Thanksgiving

Stand by your pan this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the day we all gather with friends and family to count our blessings. It’s a day filled with time-honored traditions and maybe a little overeating. But did you know it’s also the nation’s leading day for cooking fires?

With the oven on high, small appliances plugged into every outlet and a house full of guests and distractions, it’s no surprise fires can be as high as three times more likely on Thanksgiving Day.

In 2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,630 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving. Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.

Cooking caused almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries and was the second leading cause of home fire deaths in 2014-2018.

Every day, the Chattanooga Fire Department responds to emergency calls caused by cooking issues and mishaps.

To make sure only your turkey is smoked this holiday, here are a few precautions you can add to your traditions this year.

Before the big day, give your stovetop and oven a good cleaning, being careful to remove any food and grease residue that could start a fire.

Dedicate space for additional slow cookers, hot dishes, or host gifts that family and friends might bring.

Keep an eye out for flammable items and move them to a safe distance from any cooking areas.

Finally, it’s crucial you have working smoke alarms and a fire extinguisher on hand.

When it’s time to start cooking, stand by your pan! You should never leave anything unattended, especially when cooking at high temperatures.

Staying close to the stove will also help you watch for small fingers. The stove will be hot and children should stay 3 feet away. Steam or a splash of gravy, for example, could cause serious burns.

Keep knives, matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children, too, and make sure electric cords are not hanging off the counter for younger family members and guests to reach.

When all the cooking is done, double-check to ensure all burners and appliances are turned off.

“The kitchen plays a very big part in holiday celebrations, so please keep fire safety in mind during this busy time of the year,” says Chattanooga Fire Marshal William Matlock. “We urge citizens to stay in the kitchen when they’re cooking to keep an eye on the food.

“Stay in your house when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently. We want everyone to enjoy the holidays while also taking steps to protect their homes and their loved ones.”

We hope these safety tips can help make your Thanksgiving celebration warm and happy.

To find more useful advice for your home, along with a full list of our local members for all your home remodeling needs, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s website at www.HBAGC.net.