The kitchen is the heart of every home and safety must be adhered to when preparing the family feast.
"Holidays are a time of celebration. Please follow these simple guidelines to ensure a fire safe Thanksgiving Day meal," said Maryland State Fire Marshal William E. Barnard.
The State Fire Marshal headquarters is located in Pikesville at the State Police compound.
The State Fire Marshal offers the following tips for a fire-free holiday meal:
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working properly by testing them.
- Additionally, ensure your guests are aware of all available exits if a fire would occur and have them meet at a designated location outside.
- The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Establish: "Kids & Pets Free Zone" around any area where hot foods or drinks are prepared. Have activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time. Provide games, puzzles, books, etc. outside of the kitchen to keep them busy. Kids can get involved with preparations with recipes that can be made outside of the kitchen.
- Just in case, ensure you turn handles inward on the stove and countertop to avoid spills.
- Be alert while cooking; avoid consuming any alcoholic beverages while preparing the meal.
- Keep a lid nearby when you are cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it has cooled.
- Keep anything combustible - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, etc. away from the stovetop.
- Eliminate clutter in the kitchen. A clean work area allows for better efficiency and less chances for mishaps.
- Keep matches, and lighters out of reach of curious children's hands.
- Do not leave lit candles unattended or in places where they could be knocked over by children or pets.
Following these simple guidelines for fire and life safety, will help to ensure a tragedy-free holiday meal. Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an agency of the State of Maryland dedicated to helping protect citizens from fire and explosion through a comprehensive program of education, inspection and fire protection engineering.
For more information, visit the State Fire Marshal website at www.firemarshal.state.md.us.