Connecting state and local government leaders

A Thanksgiving Tradition: Cooking Mishaps That Keep First Responders Busy

Don't let this turkey turn into a disaster.

Don't let this turkey turn into a disaster. Shutterstock


Connecting state and local government leaders

Give thanks to those fighting major wildfires, but also to those who will respond to your deep-fried turkey disaster or when you simply forget about the yams in the oven.

Every Thanksgiving and other holidays where families and friends gather, it’s important to remember public servants, including many first responders, who will be on call to respond to emergency situations after something goes horribly wrong.

While that’s especially relevant this Thanksgiving as California firefighters continue to tirelessly battle deadly and destructive wildfires in the state, it’s also important in local communities across the nation where first responders will have their hands full with numerous smaller blazes.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home-cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and the day before Thanksgiving. In 2016, fire departments in the U.S. responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving.

That includes, not unexpectedly, the mishaps that sometimes happen when people attempt to deep-fry a turkey in a vulnerable location and the cooking process goes terribly wrong. If you or a loved one is attempting a deep-fried turkey this week, whatever you do, don’t do it indoors, under a carport or near anything that could potentially start a fire—especially in areas facing major wildfire risk.

Fires during Thanksgiving also occur during far more mundane activities. 

According to the NFPA, unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths. Overall, cooking equipment was involved in nearly half of all reported home fires and home fires injuries. (Don’t be distracted by family members or friends—you’re more likely to forget about the yams in the oven that can then go up in flames.)  

And one last note: If you end up deep-frying a turkey or cooking a meal that produces excess cooking grease or oil, public works officials would certainly appreciate you not pouring those sewer-damaging substances down the drain.

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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