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Thanksgiving is fast approaching. I remember the first time I ever saw a sweet potato marshmallow casserole. It was on Thanksgiving, and it was on fire.

The place for flaming marshmallows is around the campfire, not the kitchen. Unfortunately many holiday treats will catch fire in the kitchen this Thanksgiving. According to the National Fire Protection Association, it is the peak day of the year for kitchen fires.

Let’s look at some kitchen fire stats:

  • Kitchen fires are the number one cause of residential fires in the US.
  • Almost three times more residential fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.
  • 90 percent of Thanksgiving kitchen fires areĀ  are caused by unattended cooking.
  • According to CNN, “Local fire departments responded to roughly 1.6 million fires in 2008. “That’s a residential house fire every 19 seconds, resulting in about $11 billion worth of damage.”

Fortunately, a little prevention goes a long way when it comes to kitchen fires. Here are a few easy things you can do to prevent a kitchen fire as you cook the holiday feast: Roll up your sleeves while you are cooking; Remain in your home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you to check the food; Keep towels, bags, plastic, and food packaging away from flame and heat; Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, and know how to use it.

If you do have a cooking fire, these kitchen fire tips from FEMA and the US Fire Administration can make all the difference in the world:

  • When in doubt, just get out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • If you do try to fight the fire, be sure others are already getting out and you have a clear path to the exit.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing the oven mitt). Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
  • In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing.
  • If you have a fire in your microwave oven, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely reach the outlet.
  • After a fire, both ovens and microwaves should be checked and/or serviced before being used again.
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