State Fire Marshal Mike Causey urges caution in the kitchen this Thanksgiving


Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey reminds North Carolinians to be aware of kitchen and cooking safety ahead of Thanksgiving when it is easy to be distracted by activity and guests in the home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires peak on major U.S. holidays that traditionally involve cooking with Thanksgiving listed as the holiday with the most reported cooking fires.

“It’s easy to lose focus when entertaining family and friends,” said Commissioner Causey “But it’s important to keep safety in mind at all times when cooking, baking or even lighting holiday candles,” he said.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there are approximately 2,000 home fires that occur each Thanksgiving that result in deaths, injuries and millions of dollars in property loss. Many of those fires are caused by turkey frying.

The NFPA warns that turkey fryers are unsafe due to the amount of oil and high temperatures involved in their operation. In fact, it discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers unless used by properly trained professionals who are often found in grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants.

Commissioner Causey recommends the following safety tips for cooking on Thanksgiving:

  • Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
  • Keep flammable items such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains away from the cooking area.
  • Establish a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and other areas where hot food or drink is being prepared or carried.
  • Be alert when cooking. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t cook.
  • If your stove catches on fire, when in doubt, just get out! Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.

To learn more about fire and holiday safety, visit the

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.