Often times, the holidays mean that friends and families are brought together in the kitchen. However, many forget just how dangerous the kitchen can be if you're not careful. Fire departments across the country as well as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are reminding people of the dangers of cooking fires.

Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are the top two days for home cooking fires. According to the NFPA, in 2017, there were 1600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, mostly caused by people leaving their kitchens unattended while cooking. 

Cooking fires are the second leading cause of home fire deaths behind smoking.

Another cause of cooking fires around the holidays is deep-frying a turkey. Officials say if you're going to do it, make sure you do it right. NEVER attempt to deep-fry a frozen turkey. Other safety precautions include cooking the turkey outside, using a deep fryer with a thermostat to keep the device from overheating, never leave a deep-frying turkey unattended, wearing safety gear, and keeping a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.

The NFPA has a series of tips that all home-cooks can follow to help avoid fires and other injuries around the holidays.

Top 10 safety tips
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

For more information and tips from the NFPA, you can visit their website here.