Fire Marshal urges families to consider safety ahead of Thanksgiving

(KSFY) - The State Fire Marshal is asking South Dakotans to think about safety during Thanksgiving weekend.

Fire Marshal Paul Merriman said the chance of home fires increases during major holidays, especially in the kitchen. Nationally, the number of home fires double on Thanksgiving.

In a press release, Merriman offered the following cooking safety tips.

• Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop and keep an eye on the food.
• Stay in the home when cooking your turkey as well, and check on it often.
• If you must step away from your cooking, set a kitchen timer so you don’t get distracted by guests.
• Keep children at least three feet away from the stove, oven, hot food and liquids. Steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee could cause serious burns.
• Keep items that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, and towels, away from the cooking area.
• Make sure the floor is clear of tripping hazards such as children, toys, bags, or pets that could cause you to fall.
• Keep knives out of the reach of children.
• Turn pot and pan handles inward and away from the front or edge of the stove. If handles are turned outward, they could be jostled or knocked off the stove and spill, causing burns.
• Keep electric cords from appliances such as electric knives or mixers from dangling off the counter in reach of a child.

Merriman says cooking fires are not the only threat during Thanksgiving. There also are the dangers that could stem from burning candles, fireplaces, furnaces and other heat sources.