Thanksgiving is a joyous holiday to be shared with family and friends. Along with football, fun, and family, one thing that makes this holiday so great is food. Many of us like to give thanks by showcasing our culinary skills (or lack thereof). Other than last year’s fruit cake, fires are the number one unwanted visitor in people’s homes. Thanksgiving Day has more than double the number of home cooking fires than an average day according to the U.S. Fire Administration. In fact, each year more than 4,000 fires occur on Thanksgiving Day. Keep yourselves and your families safe by following these tips:
Make sure your smoke alarms are working properly by testing them. In addition, make sure your guests are aware of all available exits if a fire would occur and choose a designated meeting location outside the home.
Even with the best preparation and precautions, accidents can happen. Thanksgiving is high time for cooking related burns. DON’T USE BUTTER TO TREAT A BURN. For a superficial burn, cool the area by running it under cold water until the heat eases and then loosely cover the burn with a sterile dressing. For more serious burns, seek professional medical attention.
● The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
● Establish a “Kids & Pets Free Zone” around any area where hot foods or drinks are prepared. Have activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time. Provide games, puzzles, books, etc. Kids can get involved with preparations of recipes that can be made outside of the kitchen. Just in case, ensure you turn handles inward on the stove and counter top to avoid spills.
● Be alert while cooking; avoid consuming any alcoholic beverages while preparing the meal.
● Keep a lid nearby when you are cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it has cooled.
● Keep anything combustible - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, etc. away from the stove top at all times.
● Eliminate clutter in the kitchen. A clean work area allows for better efficiency and less chances for mishaps.
● Keep matches and lighters out of reach of curious children’s sight! If children do not live in your home but will be visiting, do a sweep of your home before company arrives to make sure there are no child hazards, put away all home chemicals, lock doors to rooms that are not child friendly.
● Do not leave lit candles unattended or in places where they could be knocked over by children or pets.
Turkey Fryer Safety
● Many turkey fryer appliances can be easily tipped over, allowing for hot oil spillage. Place them on a hard, level, and non-combustible surface. The absolute best place is outside away from the house, not on the porch or patio.
● Partially frozen turkeys can cause a spill over and cause a flare-up. Thoroughly thaw the turkey before cooking.
● Do not place a turkey fryer under an overhang or temporary roof. A flare up can easily ignite materials above the appliance.
● Constantly monitor the temperature of the oil. It can easily reach temperatures to the point of combustion. Keep your oil temperature to between 325-350 degrees. Turkeys 12 lbs and under require about 2-1/2 minutes per pound, and 12 lbs and over about 3 minutes per pound.
● Be careful not to overfill the fryer. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for proper filling levels.
● The handles and lid on your turkey fryer will get dangerously hot. Use well insulated potholders or oven mitts.
● Never leave the fryer unattended while cooking. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher on hand. NEVER use water in an attempt to extinguish a grease fire.
Following these simple tips will ensure a safe Thanksgiving holiday for your friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!