Thanksgiving – The Safe way
Each year, cooking fires cause millions of dollars in damage and injury thousands; more residential fires occur on Thanksgiving Day than on any other day of the year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
The number of fires reported actually doubles on Thanksgiving with 42% of these being attributed to cooking Thanksgiving dinner.
Each year, approximately 4,300 fires are reported in the United States on Thanksgiving Day. On average, 15 people lose their lives due to fires during this holiday and about 50 suffer fire-related injuries.
During the holiday season, increased activities in the kitchen are commonplace. And it is easy to get distracted while working in the kitchen and entertaining guests. Take a few minutes to follow these cooking safety tips to make sure that your holidays are safe:
Cooking Fires Life-Saving Tips
- Never leave cooking unattended. A serious fire can start in just seconds.
- Always wear short, tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
- Turn pot handles inward to avoid spills. Always use a potholder when reaching for handles. Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames and hot surfaces.
- Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup which can ignite.
- If a fire breaks out while cooking, put a lid on the pan to smother it. You may also use baking soda. Never throw water on a grease fire.
- Heat oil gradually to avoid burns from spattering grease. Use extra caution when preparing deep-fried foods.
- Place a rubber mat on the floor in front of your stove to give you added traction in case liquids or grease spill.
- Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house.
- Make sure all other appliances are turned off.
- Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test the batteries every month, and change them once a year.
Deep Fried Turkey – a southern favorite!
Here in the Florida, a deep fried turkey is a favorite meal; quick to cook and always delicious. But deep fryers can be extremely dangerous when care isn’t taken. Here are a few things to consider when using a turkey fryer from Underwriters Laboratories (UL):
- Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil within the cooking pot.
- If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner/flames causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
- Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too, may result in an extensive fire.
- With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
- The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
If you will be using a turkey fryer this holiday season, take time to make sure that you and your family are safe. UL and Estero Fire Rescue remind you:
- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.
- Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.
- Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don’t watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use.
- To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
- The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.
- Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pots remains dangerously hot, hours after use.
For more information on turkey fryer safety contact Estero Fire Rescue at (239) 390-8000. Make your holiday a happy and safe event.