New Canaan Fire Marshal: Thanksgiving Safety


The greatest number of home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Fire Marshal Paul Payne. Credit: Michael Dinan

Unattended cooking is by far the leading contributor in cooking fires. Kids love to help out during holiday preparations. By following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep you and your family safe from fire.

Kitchen 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, and check on it frequently.
  • -Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three 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.
  • -Knives must be kept 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.

Turkey Fryer Cooking

  • Do not overfill the fryer
  • Fryers should ALWAYS be used outdoors, on a solid level surface at a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.
  • Have a well-fitting lid available in case the oil catches fire. Keep a fire extinguisher close by.
  • The turkey must be completely thawed before putting it in the fryer.
  • Do not leave the fryer unattended!
  • Oil is hot, use well insulated potholders or oven mitts and wear long sleeves and safety goggles to protect from splatter.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after as the oil can remain hot for hours.

The New Canaan Fire Marshal’s office and the New Canaan Fire Department wish everyone a safe Thanksgiving. Should you have questions about this or any other fire safety topic, please call the Fire Marshal’s Office at 203-594-3030.

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