Tips to Prevent Too-Common Cooking Fires This Thanksgiving

FREMONT – On Thanksgiving Day, you’re likely to see a turkey or two. You can almost bet money on spotting a scoop of mashed potatoes, too. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving day also has a high chance that you’ll see a house fire.

Each year, Thanksgiving is one of the leading days for home cooking fires, due to high temperature cooking like deep frying. You can help protect yourself and your family from home fires—the nation’s most frequent disaster—by testing your smoke alarms and practicing your escape plan with free resources from the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign (

“Cooking fires can destroy a family’s Thanksgiving—and sadly, in some cases, their home,” said Jill Orton, Regional CEO of American Red Cross Kansas, Nebraska and SW Iowa Region. “Please prepare now with your loved ones to safely enjoy the holiday.”

  1. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen and on each level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. If you already have smoke alarms, use those test buttons to check them today! Make sure they’re in working condition before the big cooking day.
  2. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen – home improvement stores and big chains often have these.
  3. While cooking, don’t wear loose clothing, scarves or sleeves that dangle.
  4. If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended—stay in the kitchen or in the cooking area. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires.
  5. If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
  6. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
  7. Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
  8. Keep anything that can catch fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging or wrap, towels or curtains—away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  9. Clean all cooking surfaces and appliances thoroughly before starting the big day. Grease buildup on stoves and ovens can easily start or spread a small fire.
  10. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.