State Farm: Cook safely, avoid fire this Thanksgiving

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Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. One out of three home fires begins in the kitchen — more than any other place in the home. The No. 1 cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. NFPA data shows that Thanksgiving Day is the peak day for home cooking fires.

In 2017, State Farm paid more than $130 million for nearly 2,700 cooking/grease fire homeowners’ insurance claims. The Top 10 states for cooking/grease fire losses in 2017 are: Georgia, Alabama, New York, Maryland, Illinois, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Texas and North Carolina. At No. 10, North Carolina saw 138 claims in 2017 with over $5.7 million in paid losses.

State Farm wants local families to be careful and enjoy Thanksgiving Day. Here are some cooking safety tips:

• Keep a lid beside the pan when cooking. If a fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Never throw water on a kitchen fire.

• Keep anything that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels, etc., away from your stovetop.

• Size matters: Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that’s 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds.

• Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.

• Cook outdoors on a flat level surface with a cleared radius of at least 10 feet. Don’t use a turkey fryer on wooden structures, such as decks or patios.

• Be attentive when cooking and never leave the fryer unattended.

• Keep a fire extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fires nearby.

• Make sure your smoke alarms are working.

• If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

• Don’t forget to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.