IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – As you start preparing that Thanksgiving Day feast, it's important to remain cautious. Some simple mistakes may cause the biggest problems when it comes to cooking for the holiday.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving Day leads in the amount of home cooking fires reported in a single day.
Make Thanksgiving taste great and stay safe through proper preparation.
Scott Conlin with ServPro of Blackfoot/Pocatello says, "When it comes to the holidays, you see about everything. Everything from the smoke damage, the fire, the water damage, but most of all, things with property... So it destroys a lot of people's lives."
The NFPA says in 2021, about 1,160 home cooking fires were reported across the nation on Thanksgiving Day, a 297% increase over the daily average.
"It is common place for this to happen. And generally it's when it's left unattended," Jim Newton, a Fire Inspector with the Idaho Falls Fire Department said. "So someone starts cooking and they just walk away thinking, I'm going to go do this quick thing ends up taking longer than they are. The heat's higher than what it is, which causes a fire."
The NFPA also reports unattended cooking to be the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
IFFD says it typically happens in the oven or on the stove top.
If a fire does spark in the oven, do not open it in effort to put it out.
"Everyone's had that moment where they open the oven and that blast of heat hits you if there's a fire in there. Obviously, more stuff can come out during that time frame. So just keep the oven closed, turn it off, exit the area, call 911," Newton says.
In the event of a stove top grease fire, Newton said, "Turn the burner off. And the best thing to do is just put a lid over whatever you're cooking. If it's escaped whatever vessel you're cooking out of a pan, a dutch oven or anything else like that, you can try to smother it with a blanket, try to use an extinguisher or just again, make sure everyone exited the area and call 911."
But to avoid all the chaos the best thing to do is be prepared, whether you’re trying some new or staying tried and true to your beloved recipe, you never know what may happen.
"Have fire extinguishers ready to be available. Smoke detectors. Make sure you're there. Their batteries are updated and have all your proper utensils ready. Have lids for whatever you're cooking, have the proper lid to cover it, or even a little bigger," Newton said.
But of course, if you have any doubt about fighting a fire, no matter how small, get out of the are and call 911 immediately.