State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey has offered a safety message in advance of the number-one day for residential fires in Massachusetts.

“Over the past five years, there have been more than twice as many fires on Thanksgiving as on the next-closest day,” Fire Marshal Ostroskey said. “Thanksgiving is a time for coming together with family, but it’s also a time for fire safety. You can start now by making sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that can alert you to danger.”

There were 711 Thanksgiving Day fires in Massachusetts from 2016 to 2020; 86 percent started with cooking activities. Fire Marshal Ostroskey offered cooking safety tips that everyone can follow to keep their kitchens fire-safe this year:

  • Check to make sure your oven is empty before turning it on.
  • Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
  • Turn pot handles inward over 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 oven 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.

Home heating is the number two cause of fires on Thanksgiving. Perform an annual checkup, have chimneys cleaned and inspected by a professional at the beginning of the heating season, and place space heaters on flat, level surfaces in locations where they will not be bumped or tripped over. Keep a three-foot “circle of safety” around all heat sources.

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