LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As the holiday season approaches, fire departments from across the Las Vegas valley want to remind residents to be safe while cooking, especially if you plan to use a deep fryer.

According to the Clark County Fire Department, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and injuries in the United States, with the most cook-related fires happening on Thanksgiving.

Christmas Day and Christmas Eve ranked second and third, with both having nearly twice the daily average number of fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“The holidays are a fun and active time for families, especially in their kitchens where it may be easy to get distracted,” said Clark County Fire Department Chief John Steinbeck. “It’s important to never leave food cooking on a stovetop unattended and to keep a safe distance from burners and hot foods or liquids. This is also a good time of year to make sure your household smoke detectors are in good working order in case of fire.”

According to the UMC’s Lions Burn Care Center, four people were hospitalized due to severe burns sustained in kitchen mishaps, and an additional 13 sought medical attention from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve in 2022.

CCFD said deep frying is the cooking method that poses the highest risk. Las Vegas Fire and Rescue said you should only use approved turkey fryers with four legs and a built-in thermostat, so proper oil temperature can be maintained.

They say you should always fry outdoors away from buildings, and keep children and pets away while frying. You should never leave the fryer unattended and should wear fry gloves as regular oven mitts may not be insulated enough.

Make sure your turkey is completely thawed and dry if you plan to deep fry.

Clark County Fire gave these additional safety tips to prevent cooking fires.

When cooking:

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy, consumed alcohol, or taking medication that makes you drowsy, you should not be cooking.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
  • Never leave cooking food unattended.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly. Remain in the home while cooking and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains — away from your stovetop.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing while cooking as they can catch fire.
  • Adult supervision of children is always needed in kitchens and all cooking areas. Secure cords, knives, and equipment out of easy reach from a child, and remove any tripping hazards. Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children – up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never use a turkey fryer indoors, in a garage, or under an awning. Make sure it is on a flat level surface and away from structures, tree branches, or bushes.

If you have a cooking fire:

  • Do not use a fire extinguisher on a grease fire as this could spread the fire by spraying it around the kitchen.  
  • Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water on the fire.
  • Do not use a fire extinguisher on a grease fire as this could spread the fire by spraying it around the kitchen.  
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • Don’t take risks with a fire. When in doubt, get out of the home and call 911.

After cooking:

  • Let the cooking oil cool completely.
  • Don’t pour it down the drain because it clogs pipes. 
  • Instead, put it in a can or jar and toss it in the trash.