August 13, 2018
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Warning: Major spoilers ahead for season two of NBC’s This Is Us.
This Is Us fans are freaking out about using slow cookers after Tuesday’s episode heavily implied that a Crock-Pot fire killed resident hot dad Jack Pearson.

The show featured a flashback revealing that Jack and his wife Rebecca were given a Crock-Pot (a popular slow-cooker brand) by their neighbor George, who was about to sell his house. However, George warned that it had a faulty switch. Later, Jack was seen cleaning up the kitchen, turning off the slow cooker, and laying a towel down next to it. As he went upstairs, the switch shorted out and caused the towel and the rest of the house to catch on fire. This Is Us already makes it clear that Jack dies at some point—and now people are convinced this is how he meets his demise.

Fans went on Twitter to reveal that they’re a little scared of their Crock-Pots now:
So…is everyone who owns a slow cooker really in danger of going up in flames? The National Fire Protection Association says on its website that slow cookers are “generally safe” but can still pose a fire hazard. According to a 2017 research paper from the NFPA, just 5 percent of house fires started by cooking equipment were caused by a “portable cooking or warming device” like a slow cooker. (Stovetops made up the bulk of these fires.)

“In general, slow cookers present an extremely low fire risk,” says Susan McKelvey, communications manager at the NFPA.
However, just because the danger of fire is low doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission lists several recalls of slow cookers in the past few years due to fire concerns. One in 2011 involved a slow cooker sold by Burlington Coat Factory, while another in 2010 involved Sensio slow cookers.

In response to the uproar,This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman went on Twitter to remind everyone to chill out:
Crock-Pot also went on their Facebook page to reassure viewers that their appliances are safe.
Women’s Health also reached out to Crock-Pot for a statement but have yet to receive a response.

To make sure you’re using your slow cooker safely, the NFPA recommends inspecting your plug to make sure it’s not frayed or broken before you use it, keeping the slow cooker away from the edge of the counter so hands and elbows don’t push it off, and using the right amount of liquid and heat when making your meal to keep your cooker from overheating. Naturally, leaving any kind of flammable materials nearby, like a roll of paper towels or dish towels, is also a bad idea. And, of course, if you want to be really safe, don’t leave it on when you’re not home to keep an eye on it.

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