Cook with care this holiday season: Causey urges caution in the kitchen

Published 7:18 am Wednesday, November 24, 2021

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With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up and Christmas right around the corner, Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey encourages families to practice safe cooking now and throughout the year.

“It’s easy to lose focus when entertaining family and friends,” said Causey. “But while you’re planning your holiday menu, make sure to plan for fire safety especially when cooking, baking or even lighting holiday candles.”

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), most home fires and home fire injuries are caused by cooking. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.

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According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there are approximately 2,000 home fires that occur each Thanksgiving that result in deaths, injuries and millions of dollars in property loss. Many of those fires are caused by turkey frying.

The NFPA warns that turkey fryers are unsafe due to the amount of oil and high temperatures involved in their operation. The agency discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers unless used by properly trained professionals who are often found in grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants.

Causey recommends the following cooking safety tips:

  • Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
  • Keep flammable items such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains away from the cooking area.
  • Establish a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and other areas where hot food or drink is being prepared or carried.
  • Be alert when cooking. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t cook.
  • If your stove catches on fire, when in doubt, just get out! Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.

To learn more about fire and holiday safety, visit the OSFM website at