Tips to avoid a kitchen catastrophe this Thanksgiving

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Thanksgiving is here and the Spokane Valley Fire Department wants to make sure you don’t have any kitchen catastrophes this year. 

Cooking is the leading cause of fires, according to the agency. Fortunately, there are some easy steps that can be taken to keep things running smoothly and safely this year. 

Electric stovetops can be the most dangerous. Even though you can’t see the flames, they can reach up to 1,600 degrees. 

Cooking can turn disastrous in an instant. 

“I think that’s one of the reasons why we see a lot more fires during the holiday, because we’re cooking stuff that takes longer,” Fire Marshal Greg Rogers said.

Turkeys take hours to cook and that leaves more time for distractions. 

Rogers says setting incremental timers can help you keep an eye on what’s happening. 

“Set it for 10 or 15 minutes. That way, when it goes off, 10 or 15 minutes, you’re going back into the kitchen, you’re checking that particular area, so you know what’s going on,” he said. 

Rogers says leaving unattended food is the leading cause of fire, but can be avoided if you stay focused on your food and keep your stovetop free of debris. 

If there is a fire, people often miss one important step. 

“Instead of fighting the fire, turn the heat source off,” Rogers said. “If you turn the heat source off, that takes the heat away. It’s not going to potentially grow as fast because it’s not having that continual heat.”

You should still call the fire department, even if you think things are under control. 

“We’re able to look behind the wall. We’re able to look in different stuff to see if there’s additional hotspots,” Rogers said.

Rogers says following these tips will ensure you have a Thanksgiving full of food, but free from flames. 

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READ: What to expect if you’re traveling by plane or car this Thanksgiving