Remember safety in the kitchen this holiday, fire chief says

Holiday season is here, with family gatherings, cooking, holiday decorations, candles and heating. It also brings more fires.

In fact, the National Fire Prevention Association says cooking is the most common cause of home fires and home fire-related injuries. Thanksgiving is nationally noted for having as many as four times the house fires than any other day of the year.

“Practicing safe cooking behavior is important,” Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said. “Exercising caution at all times in the kitchen can help reduce the risk of a kitchen fire.”

The No. 1 cause of cooking fires is cooking equipment, and a leading cause of those fires is that equipment being left unattended.
“People get busy, get interrupted while in the kitchen, and they just walk away, many times for some small distraction that turns into a major problem,” Boney said. “Never leave a stove unattended.”

Insurance reports have shown that people walk away to talk or send a text, check emails, and even for a short time to answer the doorbell and greet visitors. 

Fire officials say to make sure that someone is always in the kitchen monitoring the food. Do not leave items on or in your oven to simmer, bake, roast or boil while you are away from home. Turn the stove off. And if deep frying a turkey, do it outside.

“Never fry a turkey under a carport or structure,” Biloxi Assistant Fire Chief Mark Dronet said. “Make sure that when frying a turkey, it is done at least 10 feet away from any structure.”

Dronet also says to make sure that the turkey is completely thawed and dry and turn the burner off before placing the turkey in the hot oil.

If a fire ignites in the kitchen, take precautions. More than 50 percent of injuries from cooking fires were from victims attempting to fight the fires themselves. 

“Many times people will attempt to pick up a pan on fire and place it in the sink or take it outside,” Boney said. “But that pan is usually too hot to hold on to and it gets dropped causing the burning food to spread the fire.”

Added Boney, “If you get uncomfortable with something and see a flame, call 911. We can put it out safely and cause less damage.”


Safety tips from the Biloxi Fire Department

– Keep an eye on what you fry.

– Stand by your pan.

– If you see any smoke or the grease starts to boil, turn the burner off.

– Wear short sleeves or roll sleeves up.

– Keeping cooking area clean and free of anything that may catch on fire â€“ oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packing, and towels.

– Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.

– Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby and use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire.

– Have a working smoke alarm and fire extinguisher nearby.