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Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
4100 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Phone: 703-246-3801, TTY: 711 and Fax:703-385-1687
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-877-3702
fire-rescue.PA-LSE@fairfaxcounty.gov

News Release 10-104
Date: November 9, 2010

Thanksgiving Day is the busiest day for the fire service. From 2006 to 2008, an estimated 4,300 Thanksgiving Day fires occurred in the United States causing 10 deaths, 50 injuries, and $30 million in property loss, according to the U.S Fire Administration. 

An estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings are reported to fire departments each year and cause an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss. Thanksgiving Day fires in residential structures occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from noon to 4 p.m., peaking from noon to 1 p.m.

Cooking is the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in homes at 69 percent. Electrical malfunctions (14 percent), carelessness or other unintentional actions (14 percent), and open flames (13 percent) are the leading causes of larger, non-confined Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings. Smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of non-confined Thanksgiving Day fires in occupied residential buildings, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

 Over the last several years, turkey fryer fires have contributed significantly to the increase in cooking fires. The use of turkey fryers by consumers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and destruction of property. The following safe cooking tips can help to make your holiday safer:

  • Always use cooking equipment tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying or grilling food. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire--potholders, towels, or curtains away from the stovetop.
  • Have a "kid-free zone" of at least three feet around the stove.
  • Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when cooking.
  • When placing the turkey into the oven or turkey fryer, be extremely careful.

If having a fried turkey is a must for Thanksgiving, consider purchasing a fried, cooked turkey from a commercial source. Supermarkets and restaurants accept orders for fried turkeys during the holiday season.

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For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Captain I Randal Bittinger, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711. Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.
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Last Modified: Monday, August 29, 2011

 
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