Aside from being the most-traveled holiday all year, Thanksgiving is also the most common day for fires in the United States. People often make mistakes such as forgetting to buy something and leaving their turkey to cook unattended, or leaving their turkey to cook unattended at night while they sleep.

“We don’t want to put the turkey in overnight,” said Tommy Gregory, Interim Fire Marshal for Chapel Hill. “We want to put the turkey in that morning and stay with it. You can go to other rooms in your house, but just keep in mind that you need to be mindful that you have a turkey in the oven—it’s not a time to run errands when you have a turkey in the oven.”

Gregory said people are also prone to catching their houses on fire when they deep-fry a turkey without taking proper safety precautions.

“Safety-wise, if people decide to deep fry their turkey, that they fry it at least 10 feet away from all combustibles and their house included,” he said, “So probably the deck’s not a great place to fry your turkey.”

He said it’s also important to take precautions for small children. Gregory said not to leave anything hot within their reach.

“Definitely with small children, you want to make sure that you turn all the pot handles in towards the stove,” he said. “Just out of habit, children will try to reach up and pull things. We want to make sure that they don’t pull anything down on them that could cause a burn to them.”
Gregory said even though there are a lot of rules to follow, these are the best way to ensure that your Thanksgiving is a safe one. He said it’s also a good idea to have another set of hands to help.

“Have a friend come over and help you do the cooking,” he said. “That way, you can socialize and whether it’s a friend or family, you can spend that time together and socialize and cook together.”

Aside from kitchen fires, Gregory said it’s also important to be knowledgeable about kitchen burns. Make sure to use oven mitts to take turkeys or anything else out of the oven. If you do receive a burn, immediately run it under cold water for an extended period of time, and afterwards examine the burn to determine whether you need further medical attention.