ILLINOIS (WEHT) – Officials say Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment, with four times the average number occurring.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), each year from 2017 to 2019, an estimated average of 2,300 residential building fires were reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day. These fires caused an estimated annual average of 5 deaths, 25 injuries and $26 million in property loss. U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 166,100 home fires per year involving cooking equipment.

“I am sure everyone has their own special recipe, l have one as well, and it’s called a safety recipe,” said Chicago Fire Commissioner, Annette Nance-Holt. “First, please wear protective gear in case oil splatters. Secondly, deep fry in an open, outdoor area. Deep frying a turkey should never take place inside and that includes inside a garage.”

Officials offer these tips:

  • Never leave food that you are frying, boiling, grilling or broiling unattended! If you leave the kitchen, even for a short amount of time, turn off the stove.
  • Frying a turkey has become more popular in recent years.
    • Make sure to not overfill oil in the fryer. Fill the pot you plan to use to fry the turkey with water and place the turkey in. This will help to determine how much oil is needed without causing oil to spill out when you are ready to fry, which could lead to a fire.
    • Only use the turkey fryer outdoors!
    • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry before frying.
    • Use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms when you handle the pot!
  • Create a “Kid Free Zone” of at least three feet around the stove or anywhere you are preparing hot food or drinks.
  • Keep the area around the stove clear of towels, papers, potholders, or anything that can burn.
  • Check your oven before preheating to ensure there are no items inside.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you when food is ready.
  • If there is a fire in the oven, keep the door shut and turn off the heat.
  • Smother small flames in a pan by sliding a lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and leave the lid over the pan while it cools.
  • If you have any doubt fighting a small fire, just get out! Call 9-1-1 or your emergency number from outside the home.

More fire safety information can be found on the NFPA website or on the Office of the State Fire Marshal website.