Cooking safety tips to prevent kitchen fires this Thanksgiving


HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Cooking fires are the leading cause of house fires, and the Fire Department and Red Cross want you to stay safe while cooking up your Thanksgiving feast.

While Thanksgiving may look a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cooking fires can pose a threat to families cooking their Thanksgiving meal.

Eric Anderson, Executive Director of the Red Cross of the Greater Shenandoah Valley stated that cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and “there’s a constant concern, particularly this time of year, and that is home fires.”

“So we always say, ‘keep an eye on what you fry.’ don’t leave your stove unattended. If you have to step out of the room, please turn off the burners on your stove, particularly with items involving grease,” said Anderson.

Locally, the Hagerstown Fire Department also wants people to know the proper way to put out a grease fire.

Douglas DeHaven, the Fire Marshal for the city of Hagerstown, demonstrated the correct and incorrect ways for people to put out a grease fire.

“A lot of people try to pick it up and carry it, spilling it on them, splashing it, catching other things on fire… Or they’ll take water…”

In a controlled environment, DeHaven had Chandler Fishack, a member of the Washington County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association and a firefighter in Smithsburg, throw water on to the burning oil, causing it to large plume of fire to shoot into the air.

DeHaven explains that the proper way to put out a grease fire is to put a lid on it and turn the heat off to smother the fire.

Anderson also recommends keeping a pot lid or sheet tray nearby to quickly cover any fire that may start on the stove.

DeHaven also stressed to follow the instructions for your dishes and to remember that a higher heat will not cook your food quicker, but will most likely burn it.

The fire department also has a saying that they hope people adopt ahead of their preparations for their holiday meals.

“Don’t invite us to dinner and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!”

For more tips from the Red Cross, please visit their website.

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