State Fire Marshal’s Office Reminds Tennesseans to Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen for Thanksgiving

Cooking Related Fires Caused 13 Fatalities, Over $7M in Damages in 2020

NASHVILLE – As families across Tennessee gather for Thanksgiving Day feasts on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office remind Tennesseans that the recipe for a safe celebration includes fire-safe cooking habits.

Unfortunately, cooking equipment is a major contributor to home fires. In Tennessee, 27 percent of reported home structure fires in 2020 involved cooking equipment. Those 1,624 fires resulted in 13 civilian fatalities, 58 civilian injuries, 10 firefighter injuries and over $7 million in direct property damage, according to the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System.          

“The holidays are a special time of the year, full of togetherness and traditions,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner for Fire Prevention Gary Farley. “When celebrating Thanksgiving this year, I urge all Tennesseans to be mindful of fire safety in the kitchen in order to avoid accidentally starting a home fire.”

To aid Tennesseans who may be cooking this year, the SFMO offers these Thanksgiving fire safety tips:

  • Avoid distractions. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave the room, even for a moment, turn off the stove’s burners.
  • Never consume alcohol while cooking.
  • Use a kitchen timer when boiling, simmering, baking or roasting to remind yourself to check what you are cooking.
  • Use caution with turkey fryers. The SFMO recommends that consumers always utilize oil-free models.
  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors and kept a safe distance from homes, buildings and other flammable materials.
  • Never use turkey fryers indoors or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure the fryer is used on a flat surface to prevent accidental tipping.
  • Never leave a turkey fryer unattended. Most fryer units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat and could boil over, resulting in a fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer, even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot for hours after use.
  • To prevent spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid   handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease or oil fire. Instead, put a lid over the flame, exit the home and call your local fire department by dialing 9-1-1.
  • Make sure your home’s smoke alarms are working. Need working smoke alarms? Contact your local fire department and ask if they participate in our “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!”  program. 

For more information on making your home fire-safe, download and print the SFMO home fire safety checklist

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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