Northwest Arkansas firefighters ask all to be careful in the kitchen

Thanksgiving worst day for fires


Photographs by Ben Goff

Centerton firefighters put away their equipment April 7 after working a house fire in Centerton. The fire began in the kitchen where the resident was cooking, causing extensive damage. Fire departments gets slightly more kitchen and cooking related calls during the holidays, said Thomas Good assistant chief with the Fayetteville Fire Department. Good said one of the most common causes of house fires he sees is food left cooking unattended.

Many kitchens today will be filled with the aroma of turkey and homemade pies, children scampering around and family members chattering. In the midst of all the festivities, it's important to keep safety in mind to prevent fires and injuries, Northwest Arkansas firefighters said.

Safety Tips

The following tips can help reduce the risk of cooking fires.

• Stay in the kitchen when you are using the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.

• Stay alert and focused. To help minimize the risk of injury, avoid cooking when drinking alcohol or if you’re sleepy.

• Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.

• Use a timer to keep track of cooking times, most notably when cooking a meal that takes a long time like roasting a turkey, baking a roast or simmering. Consider putting timers in different rooms so you can hear them over the music and party chatter.

• Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers and towels away from the cooking area.

• 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 could cause serious burns.

• Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, purses or bags.

• 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. Put up high in a locked cabinet.

• Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.

• Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

• Have an exit plan, should a fire occur.

Source: National Fire Protection Association

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