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Olympia – As friends and families prepare to gather for Thanksgiving Day this Thursday, November 28, the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds residents that the recipe for a great holiday always includes safe cooking habits. 

In Washington, 16 percent of reported home structure fires in 2018 involved cooking equipment. Those fires resulted in 19 civilian injuries, two firefighter injuries, and close to $5 million worth of direct property damage, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

Thanksgiving Day is the peak day of the year for home cooking fires in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. That statistic rings true for Washington, with 18 residential cooking fires reported on Thanksgiving Day last year- the highest number of cooking fires for a single day in Washington in 2018.

Whether you are cooking turkey, tofu, or tamales this Thanksgiving, the State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds residents to enjoy a fire-free holiday by keeping these safety tips in mind:

·         Most cooking fires in the home involve the kitchen stove. Stay in the kitchen when you cook food on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on it. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.

·         Use caution with turkey fryers. Use oil-free models if possible and never fry a frozen turkey.

·         Never use turkey fryers indoors or on a wooden deck.

·         Keep anything that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, and towels, away from the stovetop when you cook.

·         Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.

·         Be alert when you cook. Do not use the stove if you are distracted, sleepy, or have consumed alcohol.

·         Check your smoke alarms to make sure they work. Test them by pushing the test button.

For more information on holiday fire safety and prevention, visit the SFMO’s website at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/prevention-data-collection/ or follow us on Twitter @wafiremarshal.

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