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'Pay attention'; Louisville fire gives tips for Thanksgiving safety

The holiday typically boasts three times the normal number of cooking fires for the department to respond to.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days of the year for the Louisville Fire Department, so they're urging people to play it safe this holiday season.

“Have a plan in place as you’re preparing for the day and how you’re going to cook the food," Major Bobby Cooper said. "Prepare, plan, practice and pay attention." 

Cooper recommends checking your smoke detector, purchasing a fire extinguisher and making sure you have a fire escape plan in place at home. 

Rather than the dramatic fried-turkey explosions seen on social media, he said the number one cause of Thanksgiving Day fires is unattended cooking. 

“You’ve got tons of people cooking multiple dishes, whether they’re experienced or novice, they’ve got a lot going on at one time," Cooper said. "It’s a chaotic scene and accidents happen." 

The department expects about three times the normal amount of cooking fires on Thanksgiving. 

Cooper said you should never leave your cooking unattended, and recommends not using power strips for extra appliances.

He said accidents do still happen. If you have a small fire, suffocate it by closing an oven door or placing a lid over a pot that's burning. 

Additionally, grease is a concern with holiday cooking.

"Don’t throw water on a grease fire, have baking soda or an extinguisher, but more often than not if you smother it, it will go out," Cooper said, adding that cooking fires tend to grow because their source was unattended cooking.

Other types of holiday fires, caused by space heaters or extension cords, can spread quickly if combustible items like Christmas trees or decorations catch fire. 

“It's festive, there’s lots of decorations and people like to use candles, so we encourage people to use the candles that run on batteries," Cooper said. 

Cooper said the department is staffed and ready for the holiday rush. He encourages those celebrating to be ready too. 

"Be prepared, be vigilant, understand you take some responsibility as a home owner," he said. 

You can find more tips for a safe Thanksgiving here.

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