How to avoid holiday fire danger: tips from the Des Moines Fire Department


DES MOINES, IOWA — Thanksgiving dinner is the biggest meal of the year – unfortunately it also brings some of the biggest fire dangers, too. The Des Moines Fire Department is releasing some tips for residents to avoid the most common mistakes that can lead to a devastating holiday fire.

Their first rule – don’t turn your back on your food. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires during the holidays, the department says. If there is food in the oven or on the stove then someone should be watching it.

Their second big warning is for those who will be frying their turkeys – follow the instructions carefully and do your cooking on a non-combustible surface away from structures. Hot, spilled oil from a turkey fryer can quickly light a deck or dry lawn on fire. Instead the fryer should be used on concrete or gravel. Frozen turkeys shouldn’t be dropped into hot oil as that can cause an immediate boil over.

The Des Moines Fire Department shared this video highlighting the dangers:

The department also shared a list of holiday fire safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top 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 three 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 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 alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

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