According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking is the leading cause of home fires on Thanksgiving Day. A cooking fire is three times more likely on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. “Most fires on Thanksgiving occur between noon and 4:00 p.m. – the peak cooking hours,” says IAFF Local 290 President, Keith Repace. “A lot of those fires can be easily avoided by staying alert and in the kitchen while cooking.” Many home cooking fires are caused by unattended equipment, abandoned material, a heat source left too close to flammable materials, product misuse and cooking equipment that is not properly turned off. The use of turkey fryers – which use a large amount of cooking oil at high temperatures – also poses a significant danger and can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends seeking out grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants for preparation or using new “oil-less” turkey fryers. If you have a cooking fire, go outside and call 9-1-1 for the help of your local fire fighters. Thanksgiving is also a high time for cooking related burns. To prevent scalds and burns, cook on back burners and make sure all pot handles are turned inward so children don’t come into contact with them. Appliances that get hot, such as toaster ovens, should also be well out of a child’s reach. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared or carried. According to the American Red Cross, home fires are the single most common disaster across the nation. The members of IAFF Local 290 urge you to cook with caution and wishes you a happy Thanksgiving holiday.