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Indiana Department of Homeland Security

IDHS > About IDHS > Get Prepared > Winter Weather Precautions > Holiday Safety > Cooking Safety Cooking Safety

“Nearly all firefighters have witnessed the heartbreaking way a fire can destroy a family’s holiday in a matter of just a few minutes. Stay alert when you’re in the kitchen, pay attention to what you’re cooking, and use common sense.”
    ----Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greesoncooking

Cooking Safety Sound Clips
Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson

  • Extinguishing a Grease Fire
  • Deep Fryer Safety
  • Extinguishing an Oven Fire
  • Safe Cooking Around Children
  • NFPA Cooking Fire Fact Sheet

    In 2012, fire departments in Indiana responded to more than 1,500 cooking fires. According to the latest NFPA research, cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Two of every five home fires begin in the kitchen, more than any other place in the home.

    Cooking fires are also the leading cause of home fire-related injuries. Residents who have planned and practiced a home fire escape plan are more likely to survive a fire.

    According to the NFPA, firefighters respond to about three times the daily average of cooking fires on Thanksgiving, making it the leading day for home cooking fires in the U.S.

    Tips for Cooking

    gas range 2

    • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period, turn off the stove.

    • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you to check on food.

    • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.

    • Keep anything that could catch fire (oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, curtains, etc.) away from your stovetop.

    • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

    • For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

    Deep Fryer / Turkey Fryer Safety

    In recent years, deep fried turkeys have become a popular staple at the holiday dinner table, but preparations can be very dangerous and lead to burns or other injuries, and the destruction of property. The NFPA estimates that deep fryers cause 1,000 home fires every year.

    • Consider letting professional establishments, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants handle the preparation of deep fried turkey.

    • If you must fry the turkey yourself, use extreme caution and follow all manufacturer’s directions carefully.

    • Turkey fryers or other deep fryers should always be used outdoors, a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.

    • Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.

    • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

    • Never leave the fryer unattended.

      cooked turkey

    • Don’t over fill the fryer with oil. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the proper amount of oil to use.

    • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry before placing it in the fryer.

    • Cover bare skin when adding or removing food.

    • If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn off the gas supply.

    • If a fire occurs, immediately call 911.  Do NOT attempt to extinguish the fire with water.

    • Consider using a greaseless deep fryer or Char-Broiler instead of a traditional deep fryer.