Chief Matthew Grafton
25 Central Street
Stoneham, MA 02180-2044
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Stoneham Fire Department Provides Holiday Cooking Safety Tips
STONEHAM — As residents prepare to celebrate the holidays with Thanksgiving around the corner, Chief Matthew Grafton and the Stoneham Fire Department urge residents to be vigilant when preparing meals for family and friends.
“We want this time of year to remain joyful for families as they celebrate with friends and family, and that means residents must be conscious of safety precautions when cooking,” Chief Grafton said. “Please consider these tips, and double-check that all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are functioning properly.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for U.S. home cooking fires and the day before Thanksgiving represents the second-leading day for home cooking fires.
Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 170,200 home structure fires involving cooking equipment, which resulted in 510 civilian fire deaths, 5,470 civilian fire injuries, and $1.2 billion in direct property damage. Unattended cooking was, by far, the leading contributing factor in these fires and fire fatalities.
To avoid tragedy this season, Chief Grafton recommends residents follow several safety tips outlined by the NFPA:
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking to keep a close eye on the food, especially when frying and sauteing with oil.
- Use a timer to keep track of cooking times, most notably when cooking a meal that takes a long time like roasting a turkey, baking a roast or simmering. Check the stove or oven frequently. Consider putting timers in different rooms so that you can hear them over music, football games, and party chatter.
- Stay alert and focused when cooking. To help minimize the risk of injury, avoid cooking when drinking alcohol or if you’re sleepy.
- Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers and towels away from the cooking area.
- Kids should stay 3 feet away from stove tops, as well as from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, or gravy could cause serious burns.
Additionally, the NFPA discourages the use of turkey fryers, as the amount and high temperature of the oil used can cause serious burns and injuries, and result in the destruction of property.
Residents who would like more information on holiday cooking safety should contact the Stoneham Fire Department at 781-438-5296.