Fire safety and injury prevention guidelines should not be overlooked during the Thanksgiving holiday according to Fire Marshall John Weaver, Fort Belvoir Fire and Emergency Services.

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and injuries throughout the year and the leading cause of home fires on Thanksgiving Day. Cooking fires nearly double on Thanksgiving Day occurring more than twice as often as a normal day.

"By using fire-wise common sense, citizens and residents can avoid tragedy and disruption of their holiday festivities," said Weaver. "While these tips may not make Thanksgiving dinner taste any better -- they will aid in avoiding potential disaster."

In the kitchen

People who are cooking on Thanksgiving Day should not wear clothing with loose sleeves or dangling jewelry. Clothing can catch on fire and jewelry can become entangled with pot handles causing spills and burns.

Cook on the back burners when possible, and turn pot handles inward so they don't extend over the edge of the stove.

People cooking are also encouraged to start their holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven.
Keeping the kitchen off limits to children and adults who are not helping with food preparation is also recommended as this will lessen the possibility of kitchen mishaps.

It is also important to never leave the kitchen unattended. If a person must leave the kitchen while cooking, turn off the stove or have some else watch what is being cooked.

Smoke alarms

One step that can be taken to prevent fire danger is having a working smoke alarm. Ideally, smoke alarms should be kept on every level of the home, in each bedroom and in the halls adjacent to the bedrooms.

Smoke alarms should be texted monthly and have the batteries replaced at least once a year.

Having a working smoke alarm reduced one's changes of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent.

Have a fire plan

Overnight guests should be instructed on your home's fire escape plan and designated meeting place for your Family.

Another safety step that is important to remember is to have a fire extinguisher available.

A standard class ABC multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher is recommended and the extinguisher should be no more than 10 feet from the stove, on the exit side of the room.

Decoration attention

Keep Thanksgiving decorations and kitchen clutter away from sources of direct heat.

Candles are often part of holiday decorations. They should never be left burning when you leave away from home or after going to bed. Candles should be placed where children will not be tempted to play with them, and where guests will not accidentally brush against them.

Candleholder should be completely non-combustible and difficult to knock over. The candle should not have combustible decorations around it.

What's smoking?

Properly disposing of cigarette butts is another important precaution that should be taken.

If smoking is allowed inside, provide guest with large, deep ashtray's and check them frequently. After guests leave check inside the house, under upholstery, and in trash cans for cigarette butts that may be smoldering.

For more information, contact the Fort Belvoir Fire Marshall's office at (803) 805-2091 or send an email to Belvoir DES-FireMarshall'sOffice@conus.army.mil.

Page last updated Wed November 23rd, 2011 at 00:00