ESA Serves Up Safe Cooking Tips in Time for Thanksgiving

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The Electronic Security Association (ESA) provides fire safety tips to homeowners.

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In 2012, cooking fires occurred three times more often on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.

The end of the year is upon us, which means family gatherings, good times and the ultimate home-cooked meal: Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, it’s also the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment. In 2012, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that cooking fires occurred three times more often on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.

To ensure your Thanksgiving is indeed something for which to be thankful (and not a fiery fiasco), use these safe cooking tips from the Electronic Security Association (ESA).

Cooking with care

Whether you’re roasting a turkey or baking a pie, it’s important to exercise caution in the kitchen. A few ways to avoid dinnertime disasters include:

  • Keep your stove top free of flammable items such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, pot holders or towels.
  • Refrain from wearing loose and dangling clothing that can easily catch fire.
  • Cook on the back burners of your stove top whenever possible and keep pot handles turned in to prevent pots from accidentally being knocked off.
  • Children should be kept at least three feet away from hot stoves to ensure that they do not get burned by bubbling liquid or steam.
  • Electric cords should not hang off of counters, since they could easily injure children if they are pulled down.
  • Never leave dangerous items such as knives, matches or lighters in reach of children.

Don’t burn the bird (or the house)

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports that unattended cooking equipment is the leading factor contributing to the ignition of larger, spreading cooking fires. The best way to prevent kitchen fires is to pay attention to what you’re making. It’s extremely important to stay nearby when grilling, broiling or frying food. These methods of cooking present more fire danger than baking, boiling or roasting.

If the cooking goes south and you find yourself in a smoke-filled kitchen, it’s vital to the safety of your home and family to take immediate action. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby and use the PASS method to remember how to operate it:

  • Pull the pin, hold the extinguisher with the nozzle facing away and release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low and point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Never try to put out a grease fire with water—no matter how big or small. Water doesn’t extinguish this type of fire; it spreads the fire by causing the grease to splash out of the pan. The best way to extinguish a grease fire is to quickly cover it with a pan lid and turn off the burner.

Even if all precautions are taken to avoid a kitchen fire, there is no guarantee that it won’t happen. For this reason, all homes should be equipped with a monitored fire alarm system. ESA encourages homeowners to select a knowledgeable and trusted security company that is a member of ESA to install and monitor a fire alarm in the home. To find a local ESA member, visit

Although diets and healthy food go out the window this time of year, safety is something that shouldn’t. Use these tips to ensure each meal is cooked safely.


Established in 1948, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) is the largest trade association representing the electronic life safety and security industry. Member companies install, integrate and monitor intrusion and fire detection, video surveillance and electronic access control systems for commercial, residential, industrial and governmental clients. In cooperation with an alliance of chapter associations, ESA provides technical and management training, government advocacy and delivers information, advice, tools, and services that members use to grow their businesses and prosper. ESA may be reached at (888) 447-1689 or on the Web at

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Laurie Knox

Bob Ogle
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