More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year, according to our Department of Fire and Rescue Services. I’m cooking for a crowd this year, as I’m sure many of you are, so here are some safety tips from DFRS. Frying your turkey this year? See the tips specific to turkey fryers at the bottom. Have a happy (and safe) Thanksgiving!
Cooking Fires Life-Saving Tips:
- Be alert! Always keep your eyes on what’s cooking.
- If a fire breaks out while cooking, put a lid on the pan to smother it. Never throw water on a grease fire.
- Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup which can ignite.
- Always wear short, tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly. Remain in the kitchen while food is 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.
- 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 the batteries annually.
Turkey fryers are becoming an increasingly popular choice to cook the Thanksgiving turkey and can be extremely dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. If your plans include using a turkey fryer, fire department officals urge residents to follow all manufacturer directions closely and to review the following safety tips:
Fryer Safety Tips:
- Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil within the cooking pot.
- A small amount of cooking oil coming into contact with the burner can cause a large fire.
Fryers should always be used outdoors, on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.
- Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or enclosed space.
Do not overfill the fryer.
- 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. Never leave the tryer unattended.
- The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after use as the oil can remain hot for hours.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer.