Tips for Avoiding Thanksgiving Dinner Disasters

With more people preparing their own dinners and staying home this year, Forbes Advisor developed 11 tips to have a safe experience.

  1. Keep your cooking area free of flammable materials like food wrappers, towels and oven mitts. If they’re too close to your stove, they could catch fire.
  2. Avoid wearing long sleeves and hanging fabrics that could come in contact with a source of heat.
  3. Don’t leave your kitchen when anything is being cooked on the stovetop.
  4. Stay at home while turkey and other items are being cooked in the oven, and regularly check those items.
  5. Be alert when you’re cooking. If you’re really sleepy or really tipsy, it’s smart not to be whipping up Thanksgiving dinner in the kitchen. “Cooking while overtired or under the influence is dangerous,” the NFPA warns.
  6. Keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove and other areas where hot food or drinks are being prepared or served.
  7. Set timers so you don’t forget to check on food.
  8. Test your smoke alarms to make sure they’re working.
  9. Never throw water on a grease fire that’s occurring in a pan on top of your stove. Instead, turn off the burner and cover the fire with a lid or larger pan to smother it.
  10. If a fire breaks out in your oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  11. If you’re not sure whether you can safely fight a kitchen fire that has started, leave your house and call 911.

“The pandemic may limit the number of people in homes this year, but there will still be lots of the usual cooking and distractions that contribute to a sharp increase in cooking fires on and around Thanksgiving. Being vigilant in the kitchen remains critical to ensuring a fire-safe holiday,” said Lorraine Carli, a spokesperson for the NFPA, in a news release.