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As the holiday season kicks off, the McHenry Township Fire Protection District (MTFPD) is reminding residents to keep fire safety in mind in the kitchen during this joyous and hectic time. For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home as family gathers to make traditional recipes, decorate cakes and cookies and share in the preparations.
“Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires,” said MTFPD Fire Chief Tony Huemann. “People get busy visiting with each other and get distracted or step away from the stove for a moment and that is all it takes. Unattended cooking is the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.”
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, last year across the country fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day. The NFPA and the MTFPD urge families to keep these safety tips in mind throughout the holiday season:
Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
Keep knives out of the reach of children.
Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
Never leave children or pets alone in a room with a lit candle.
Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Check them by pushing the test button.