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Fire Marshal: Be Safe During Thanksgiving

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, Nov. 20. 2017

Contact: Tony Mangan, Public Information Officer, 605-773-6196



Fire Marshal: Be Safe During Thanksgiving



PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s State Fire Marshal is urging people to make sure their homes, especially their kitchens, are safe this Thanksgiving holiday.


The chance of home fires increases during major holidays, according to Fire Marshal Paul Merriman. He says nationally, the number of home fires double on that holiday.


“If you have ever hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, you know there is a lot of activity in the kitchen and Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires,” he says. “It is extremely important with everything going on, that people still be careful with fires.”


Merriman says some cooking safety tips are:


  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop and keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey as well, and check on it often.
  • If you must step away from your cooking, set a kitchen timer so you don’t get distracted by guests.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the stove, oven, hot food and liquids. Steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep items that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, and towels, away from the cooking area.
  • Make sure the floor is clear of tripping hazards such as children, toys, bags, or pets that could cause you to fall.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Turn pot and pan handles inward and away from the front or edge of the stove. If handles are turned outward, they could be jostled or knocked off the stove and spill, causing burns.
  • Keep electric cords from appliances such as electric knives or mixers from dangling off the counter in reach of a child.


Merriman says cooking fires are not the only threat during Thanksgiving. There also are the dangers that could stem from burning candles, fireplaces, furnaces and other heat sources.


“Whether it is a holiday or not, make sure you have working smoke alarms on each level of the home,” Merriman says. “With a greater potential of home fires during the holidays, you need to use all possible safety measures available. We want this day to be remembered for a celebration, not a tragedy.”


The South Dakota Fire Marshal’s Office is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.