MILWAUKEE -- If Thanksgiving is a holiday of traditions, one routine firefighters would rather avoid is kitchen fires and injuries.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that in 2013, fire crews responded to 1,550 fires -- a 230 percent increase from the daily average.
"As we go into the holiday season, we want to remind everyone that while you're cooking at home, you never leave food unattended," said Milwaukee Fire Department Chief Brian Smith. "When you leave food unattended, that's when accidents happen."
The National Fire Protection Association lists five essential tips for cooking safely this Thanksgiving:
1) Remain in the kitchen while you’re cooking, and keep a close eye on what you fry! Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Regularly check on food that’s simmering, baking or roasting, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
2) Keep things that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains away from the cooking area.
3) If you have a small (grease) cooking fire on the stovetop and decide to fight the fire: Smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
4) For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. If you’re cooking a turkey using a disposable aluminum pan, consider doubling up and using two pans to avoid a puncture, as dripping turkey juices can cause an oven fire.
5) Be alert when cooking. If you're sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
For more information and resources, visit http://www.nfpa.org/