JBLM offers tips to prevent Thanksgiving fires, burned turkeys
According to the National Fire Protection Association: deep fryer fires cause an average of 5 deaths, 60 injuries and more than $15 million in property damage each year. Deep-frying turkeys has become increasingly popular, but the new tradition is a recipe for holiday tragedy. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- As Thanksgiving approaches and we prepare to spend more time at home and in the kitchen, the threat of kitchen fires will increase. The National Fire Protection Association reminds us every year of the following:

  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Easter and Christmas Eve.
  • 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 it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths in 2014 to 2018.  

Remain vigilant this holiday season. The NFPA and your Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fire Prevention team recommend these 10 safety tips:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey in the oven, and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot, and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee can cause serious burns.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

It can be helpful to have activities ready that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time. Games, puzzles or books can keep them busy.

Kids can get involved in Thanksgiving preparations with recipes that can be done outside the kitchen. Have them help by setting the table or making decorations. Just keep them out of the kitchen during cooking time.

For those frying a turkey this year, ensure it’s done outside and at least 15 feet from any structure. Have a serviceable fire extinguisher nearby in case you have issues. Never try to fry a frozen turkey. The turkey should be thoroughly thawed. Follow your fryer's manufacturer guide on how to fill the fry pot.

Remember the feeling when grease splatters? Now multiply it tenfold if the pot catches fire. Spend the day with your family at home and not the ER.

The JBLM firefighting team hopes and your family have a happy and fire safe Thanksgiving. We all deserve it, given this year. If you do need help, emergency services are just a phone call away; call 9-1-1.

For more information call 253-377-4651, or email Edward.j.chavez.civ@mail.mil.

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