State Fire Marshal - Holiday and Heating Fire Safety

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year.

  • Be alert if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol. Don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

Cooking Fire Safety Videos

Using A Turkey Fryer

  • Fryers should always be used outdoors, a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials. (Some manufacturers are now offering turkey fryers designed for indoor use. If you use one of these follow manufacturer directions carefully.)
  • Never use a fryer in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer. (If directions for filling fryer are not available a reliable method to use is to- a) place the turkey in the pot, b) fill with water until the turkey is covered by about ½ inch of water, c) remove and dry turkey, d) mark water level. Dump water, dry the pot, and fill with oil to the marked level.)
  • 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 completely thawed and dried before cooking. Be careful with marinades- oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard. (The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recommends you thaw a turkey 24 hrs for every 4 to 5 pounds.)
  • Keep an all purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.

DAY 1 - Use holiday decorations made with flame-retardant or non-combustible materials.

DAY 2 - Carefully inspect new and previously used light strings and replace damaged items before plugging lights in. Use lights approved by Underwriter’s Laboratories. Do not overload extension cords.

DAY 3 - Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.

DAY 4 - Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

DAY 5 - Never use lit candles to decorate a tree, and make sure any lit candles in the room are place away from tree branches.

DAY 6 - Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

DAY 7 - Try to keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily.

DAY 8 - Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source.

DAY 9 - Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S.

DAY 10 - When entertaining provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.

DAY 11 - After a party, check on, between and under upholstery and cushions for cigarette butts that may be smoldering.

DAY 12 - Take the tree down when it becomes dry. Recycle it, use it as a fish shelter in a farm pond or put it out with the trash. Do not burn it in the fireplace. Heat may explode the wood and set the room on fire.

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January and February.

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable heater.
  • Only use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Never use your oven for heating.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
  • Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning.
  • Test smoke alarms and CO2 alarms monthly.

Important Links

Make and practice a family escape plan. For directions click here.

For more fire safety tips: National Fire Protection Association.

State Fire Marshal Urges Using Heating Safety Precautions During Extreme Temperatures (01/03/14)

State Fire Marshal: Alternate Heating Sources Pose Greater Fire Risk (01/06/14)

Heating Safety Difference Between Life and Death In Extreme Temperatures (01/29/14)

Colder Weather Calls for Heating Fire Safety (10/31/14)

Stand By Your Pan For a Safe Thanksgiving Dinner: Thanksgiving Day Leading Day for Home Cooking Fires (11/24/14)

If Not Done Properly, Deep Fried Turkey Can Send Thanksgiving Celebrations Up in Flames: Thanksgiving Worst Day for Cooking Fires (11/26/14)

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