State Fire Marshal Offers Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Thanksgiving is a wonderful family holiday, but the day can be ruined with a cooking or candle fire, a burn injury, or a carbon monoxide incident from long-term use of the oven, said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey.

There are more home fires on Thanksgiving than any other single day in Massachusetts, twice as many as New Year’s Eve which ranks second.

“The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to keep your family safe. To start with, every home should have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms,” Ostroskey added.

Cooking Safety Tips

Cooking is the leading cause of fires in the home and the leading cause of fire injuries, so it is not surprising that 87 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires were caused by cooking. State Fire Marshal Ostroskey offered these cooking fire safety tips:

  • Check to make sure your oven is empty before turning it on.
  • Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
  • Turn pot handles inward ove r the stove.
  • Remember to “stand by your pan” and stay in the kitchen when boiling, frying or broiling.
  • Use a timer when baking or roasting and never leave the house with the oven running.
  • The best way to respond to a stovetop fire is to “put a lid on it” and turn off the heat.
  • The best way to respond to an oven or broiler fire is to keep the doors closed and turn off the heat.
  • If the fire is not quickly snuffed out, leave the house and call 9-1-1 from outside.

“Last Thanksgiving, firefighters across the Commonwealth were busy responding to cooking fires,” said Ostroskey.

  • Gas Ovens: A Source of CO

Generally, the confined space of a closed gas oven used for cooking does not produce enough carbon monoxide (CO) to be of concern, unless you are using it for several hours like when roasting a turkey. If you have a kitchen exhaust fan, use it; if not, crack a window for fresh air when using the gas oven for an extended period of time.


Candles make any holiday table festive, but it is important to follow these safety tips:.

  • Use candles inside a 1-foot circle of safety free of anything that can burn.
  • Think twice about lighting the candles on that lovely centerpiece if it means you can’t follow the 1-foot circle of safety rule.
  • Use extra care with candles when children and pets are around.
  • Consider using flameless, battery-operated candles instead.
  • Blow out candles when leaving the room; don’t leave candles burning unattended.
  • Use non-combustibles holders or saucers.
  • Keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children.

Burn Safety

  • Keep children 3-feet away from the stove for safety to prevent burns.
  • Run cool water on burns; call 9-1-1 for more serious burn injuries.
  • Remember to stop, drop, cover and roll if clothing ignites.

For more information contact your local fire department or the Department of Fire Services  HYPERLINK “” \t “_blank” Thanksgiving web page.

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