ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- According to the National Fire Prevention Association, nearly half of all home fires start in the kitchen. And -- as a holiday based around food, Thanksgiving is a peak day for fire officials.
That's why local departments are urging residents to be extra cautious this Thanksgiving holiday.
"I would say the main cause is generally distractions," says City of Elmira Fire Chief Joseph Martino. "Walking away from the stove to tend to other things that are going on in the house or preparing something else. So there are a lot of distractions at the holiday times between just trying to get that meal prepared and entertaining guests in the home."
You also want to make sure all cook tops are clean. As for your workspace -- avoid anything that could cause you to trip or spill.
Another tip -- keeping small children out of the way as you're cooking.
"They want to be involved, but they are a big distraction as you're in the kitchen," says Martino. "We don't want them to get injured or you be distracted while you're cooking in the kitchen."
And while the Chief does advise against deep frying your turkey, if you do, be sure to do it safely.
"Make sure it's outside the home on a non-flammable surface--concrete or blacktop would be good," says Martino. "[Also] make sure you don't overflow the grease in the pot and that your turkey is completely thawed."
These are tips not just for Thursday, but also as we head further into the holiday season.
"It's also a time of year where we have a lot of guests in town, so make sure not only for your own safety, but your guests safety, be sure to check your smoke detectors," says Martino. "It'll be a safer holiday season [for everyone]."