Fire Marshal provides safe cooking tips

PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – South Dakota’s Fire Marshal reminds people to enjoy all the great food this Thanksgiving holiday, but also to be mindful that fires occur more often this time of year.

Nationwide, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says that makes home fire safety even more important.

“Many people love to cook for this holiday and that means more activity and more people in the kitchen,” he says. “It is easy to forget fire safety and on this day, especially, you need to pay attention.”

Cooking safety tips listed by Merriman include:

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop and keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey as well, and check on it often.
  • If you must step away from your cooking, set a kitchen timer so you don’t get distracted by guests.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the stove, oven, hot food and liquids. Steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep items that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, and towels, away from the cooking area.
  • Make sure the floor is clear of tripping hazards such as children, toys, bags, or pets that could cause you to fall.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.

Along with kitchens, Merriman says there can be fire dangers stemming in other places of the home such as candles, fireplaces, furnaces and other heating sources.

“Whether it is a holiday or not, make sure you have working smoke alarms on each level of the home,” Merriman says. “With a greater potential of home fires during the holidays, you need to use all possible safety measures available. We want this day to be remembered for a celebration, not a tragedy.”

The South Dakota Fire Marshal’s Office is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.