DMFD Issues Safety Tips Ahead Of Most Common Holiday For Home Cooking Fires

Press Release

Des Moines, Iowa — Wednesday, November 24, 2021 — Thanksgiving is a surprisingly common day for home cooking fires. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, this holiday is the most common day for these fires with more than three times the daily average for such incidents.

With that in mind, the Des Moines Fire Department put together a video to highlight some of the easiest ways to avoid inadvertently inviting a firetruck to your celebration.

  • Never leave cooking unattended. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of fires both nationally and in Des Moines. 
  • If you are frying a turkey, make sure to do so away from your home and on a noncombustible surface like cement or concrete.

"We really want people to enjoy their holidays," Des Moines Fire Marshal Jonathan Lund said. "Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate, reflect and relax, but unfortunately we see fires year after year that can devastate homes that could have been avoided with these simple tips."

The National Fire Protection Association has a full list of Thanksgiving Fire Safety Tips listed below as well as a full video showing the danger of frying a turkey:

Top 10 safety tips

  • 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.

Al Setka
Chief Communications Officer, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4057

About the City of Des Moines
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