Residential fires spike during the holiday season: Tips to stay safe when it comes to cooking and decorating

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 10:33 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Thanksgiving is the one holiday that kicks off the overall holiday season.

Although cooking meals for family, frying turkeys, and even bringing out the decorations can be fun, there are also a lot of dangers that come with it.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, every year there is an spike in residential fires starting on Thanksgiving.

Ward 6 Fire Department wants to remind those in Southwest Louisiana of these dangers and remind them that residents can be cautious and still get the job done.

“The holiday season is festive for all of our families and we want to make sure that no one gets injured or we don’t lose any property during the holidays due to a fire,” said Ward 6 Fire Chief Todd Parker.

Parker said that one thing to remember is cooking safety during the holidays.

“Well, cooking fires [have] caused 50% of the fires throughout the United States, so it’s important to not leave any of our food unattended while it is cooking,” said Parker.

Thanksgiving day alone has an average of 1,600 fires that occur from cooking, according to the consumer product safety commission, which is three times the daily average.

Safety tips to remember involving cooking and preparing meals during the holidays:

  • Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove or in the oven.
  • Only fry a turkey outside and away from your home or other flammable materials. Never use turkey fryers in an enclosed area like the garage or on the porch, and make sure it is at least 10 feet away.
  • Clean up any grease that may have spilled.
  • Keep food packaging and towels away from any open flames.
  • Point pot handles inward to prevent any accidental spilling.
  • Make sure the oven is empty before heating it up.
  • Wear clothing with short or tight-fitting sleeves; long sleeves can ignite if they are too close.
  • If frying a turkey, the turkey should be thawed and dried completely before attempting to fry it.
Tips to stay safe during the holidays

Thanksgiving is also a time where many start bringing out the decorations or put up their Christmas tree, so you want to ensure you are not overloading outlets and checking lights for loose wires before hanging them.

“With live Christmas trees, it is important you water it and that they do not get dry,” said Parker. “Making sure that we inspect all of our Christmas tree lighting, making sure that the wiring is safe, and making sure that we keep enough distance away from our fireplaces, heaters, things like that where the ornaments or the decorations don’t catch on fire.”

Most importantly, Ward 6 wants to remind everyone to make sure that their fire and smoke detectors are up to date and working properly along with a carbon monoxide detector.

“Probably the most important thing that we could have in our homes is a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector to make sure that if a fire does occur at night time, it gives our family plenty of time to evacuate the home and call 911,″ said Parker.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, every year there is an spike in residential fires starting on Thanksgiving.

Safety tips to keep you safe while decorating your home for the holidays:

  • Make sure your live Christmas tree has plenty of water and look for the “Fire Resistant” label when buying an artificial tree.
  • Never leave candles unattended. Place burning candles in sight, away from flammable items, and blow or snuff them out before leaving the room. Use flameless candles whenever possible.
  • Never string together more than three sets of incandescent lights, and never overload electrical outlets.
  • Check cords for any exposed or loose wires.
  • When hanging lights, make sure someone is holding the ladder for you.