Firefighter Jessie Bowden and Firefighter Megan Morehart pose with their homemade pumpkin pie that says, "Madison MFD Wis."
Cooking is a leading cause of home fires in the United States, and Thanksgiving Day is the likeliest day they will occur, according to data tracked by the U.S. Fire Administration.

The Madison Fire Department reminds you that with just a dash of planning and a generous serving of care, your holiday can go off without a hitch!

Use Caution In the Kitchen

  • Establish a “safe zone” around your stove/oven. Keep children and pets at least three feet away.
  • Keep the stovetop clean and clear. Wipe away any residue or grease buildup from previous stovetop use. Make sure kitchen towels, food packaging, cooking utensils, oven mitts, paper towels, and other objects are kept away from the burners.
  • Turn pot handles toward the side or back of the stove to prevent anyone from accidentally bumping them, causing spills and burns.
  • Stand by your pan when frying or sautéing your food. Set a timer for items in the oven. We recommend using the timer on your cell phone and keeping your cell phone with you if you leave the kitchen.
  • Clean up any spills as soon as they happen to prevent slips and falls in the kitchen.
  • Keep a pan lid nearby, or have a baking sheet handy, in case you need to smother a fire on the stovetop.
  • Roll up your sleeves or wear short sleeves to prevent fabrics from catching fire.

Fire-Free Frying

If you plan to fry your turkey this year, follow these tips to prevent fire or injury:

  • Always use your fryer outdoors. Never use it on a wooden deck and never in the garage.
  • Thaw your turkey completely before frying. Ice on the turkey will cause oil to splatter.
  • Use a fryer that has thermostat controls to ensure the oil doesn’t overheat.
  • Be careful not to overfill the pot with oil. If you do, the oil will overflow when you add the turkey, causing a fire hazard (and a mess).
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the fryer.

What to do if there’s a flare-up?

If a fire breaks out while you’re cooking, remember that throwing water on an oil-based fire does not work and may even cause the fire to get worse.

The best way to put out a stovetop fire is to smother the fire with a lid. If a fire breaks out in your oven, keep the door closed and turn the oven off. Each of these methods deprive the fire of the oxygen it needs to burn.

Should the fire grows beyond your ability to control it, turn off all burners, if possible, then immediately evacuate to the outdoors and call 911. Remember to close the door behind you!

The Madison Fire Department wishes you a safe and happy holiday weekend!

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Fire and a link back to the original post.