The Clark County Fire Department is reminding residents to be safe cooks on Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season. Cooking is a leading cause of home fires. Nationally, Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for cooking-related fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“Thanksgiving and other holidays are a great time to enjoy your family, friends and good food, but it’s also a time of year when kitchens are in high use and cooking fires can happen,” Clark County Fire Chief Bertral Washington said. In 2013, about 19 percent of residential fires in Clark County were cooking related. Fire officials say unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires, and frying is the cooking method that poses the highest risk of fire. The following safety tips are recommended to prevent cooking fires:

When cooking:

  • Never leave cooking food unattended.
  • Adult supervision of children is always needed in kitchens and all cooking areas. Young children should remain out of cooking areas.
  • Position grills, fryers and other outdoor cooking devices well away from walls, siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves and branches.
  • When deep frying turkeys, fry outdoors away from combustible items. Only use an approved turkey fryer with a built-in thermostat. Make sure the fryer cannot tip over, a common cause of fires.
  • Keep flammable materials such as oven mitts and towels away from the stove or cooking device.
  • Stay alert. If you are tired or consuming alcohol, don’t cook.
  • If you’ve got an old, or heavily used deep fryer – it’s safer and less expensive to look at some fryer reviews at and get a new one, than the home reno and fire costs that you’ll incur trying to use an old fryer!
  • Don’t forget to turn off your oven, fryer, barbecue and stove-top burners.  Every year fires are started when people turn on these items and then forget to turn them off.
  • Every kitchen should have a working, multi-purpose fire extinguisher with an ABC rating. Check your fire extinguisher on a regular basis. Replace used, outdated or damaged extinguishers.

If you have a cooking fire:

  • On a stove-top fire, if it is safe to do so, turn off the burner, then using caution, place a lid on the pan or pot to smother or extinguish a small fire.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the oven. Keep the oven door closed to smother and extinguish the fire.
  • Do not use water to extinguish a grease or oil fire. Adding water to a pan of hot oil or grease will cause the burning grease to splash out of the pan and spread the fire. Turn off the stove, fryer or propane tank supply valve, and use a lid, baking soda or fire extinguisher on the flames.

Don’t take risks with a fire. When in doubt, get out of the home and call 911. Close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Nationally, more than half of all reported home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.