Flickr photo

ITHACA, N.Y. — Thanksgiving is here. As you prepare dinner, catch up with family, watch football and the parade — maybe all simultaneously — here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while the bird is in the oven.

With so many cooks in kitchens on Thanksgiving, it’s no surprise that home cooking fires soar on the holiday. The number of homes fires double on Thanksgiving, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

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The list below combines safety tips from the Ithaca Fire Department and the American Red Cross.

1 — When roasting your turkey, be sure to set a timer.

2 — If you are planning to deep fry a turkey, use a fryer with thermostat controls to make sure the oil does not overheat. Thaw the turkey completely because ice will cause the oil to splatter. Do not overfill the pot with oil. If you do, the oil will overflow when you add the bird and create a fire hazard. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the fryer and always make sure to use the fryer outdoors.

3 — Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year if your smoke alarm requires it.

4 — Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.

5 — Never leave food unattended when cooking and check food regularly.

6 — Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area.

7 — Keep anything that can catch fire like pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains, away from the stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.

8 — Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.

9 — Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.

10 — Make sure to have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. raining on the proper use of extinguishers.

Featured image: “Thanksgiving Table” by vxla is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.