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North Haven Fire Department Offers Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

NORTH HAVEN — With Thanksgiving tomorrow, Chief Paul Januszewski and the North Haven Fire Department would like to remind residents of several important cooking safety tips.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and the day before Thanksgiving.

The NFPA found that unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths. Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments in the United States are dispatched to approximately 166,100 fires annually involving cooking equipment, such as a stove or microwave.

“The kitchen is typically the center of family holiday celebrations, and it is important that proper cooking techniques be followed to prevent accidents from occurring,” Chief Januszewski said. “This includes never leaving cooking food unattended and using care with flammable objects. By following these cooking safety tips, families can enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.”

To avoid tragedy this season, the North Haven Fire Department recommends residents follow several safety tips outlined by the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Commission on Fire Prevention and Control:

  • Keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains away from the stove top.
  • Inspect any electric fry pans, pots or other accessories such as electric knives and handheld whisks for frayed cords and bad connections before using them. Do not submerge electric appliances in water.
  • Always remain in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • When simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check the pots and pans regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you when it is time to turn down or turn off the burner or oven.
  • Stay alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not use the stove or any cooking appliance or accessory.

In the event of a cooking fire:

  • Keep a lid nearby when cooking to smother a small grease fire. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stove top. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • If unable to control….Ensure all occupants get out of the house immediately!  When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

Additionally, the NFPA discourages the use of turkey fryers, as the amount and high temperature of the oil used can cause serious burns and injuries, and result in the destruction of property.

Residents who would like more information on holiday cooking safety should contact the North Haven Fire Department at 203-239-5321.