Ways to avoid a catastrophic fire or dangerous disaster this upcoming holiday
Thanksgiving is the heart and soul of November, bringing families and friends together to celebrate a holiday full of cooking and joy. Although this is the time of year to be thankful for everything we have, it’s easy to forget about the kitchen safety rules that go alongside cooking, especially when there’s a lot of activity around the confines of a kitchen. The last thing you want on Thanksgiving Day is a fire or a surprising accident. According to FEMA, 74% of all residential fires on Thanksgiving Day are caused solely by cooking, which is almost double the number of residential fires throughout the rest of the year. Listed below are some general rules you should consider following to avoid any injuries or other stressful outcomes like a kitchen or house fire. Should you experience a fire or a dangerous event on Thanksgiving day, calling 911 is your first step.
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Fire Concerns on Thanksgiving Day
Stovetop and Oven
- If you’re frying anything on the stovetop and you start to see the oil smoking or boiling, turn the burner off immediately. Things can quickly get out of hand with hot oil if not handled correctly. Remove the pot or pan from the stove and keep it secluded from everything to cool down. Be sure to store the hot oil in a place where children and pets can’t reach it, as it will take some time to cool down to a safe temperature.
- Keep a cookie sheet on hand – this is a handy tool if a fire should start. If a stovetop fire starts, quickly place the cookie sheet over the pot or pan to suffocate the flame and stop it from growing. Do not remove the cookie sheet until it has cooled down completely.
- If a fire starts in the oven, keep the door closed and turn the oven off. This will slow down and potentially stop the spreading of the fire because no oxygen will reach the flames.
- Keep flammable materials away from the stove, oven, or hot foods and liquids. They can easily catch fire that can spread quickly amongst everything throughout the kitchen
- dishtowels, cardboard boxes, paper, and curtains are a few materials most susceptible to catching fire
Deep Frying a Turkey
Frying a turkey can be highly dangerous for a number of reasons. Serious burns can occur if not handled properly, or a major fire can start if the turkey itself isn’t prepared correctly.
- Do not leave the fryer unattended
- Allow your turkey to be completely thawed before deep frying – it could take days to thaw a large turkey so make sure you allow enough time for it to completely thaw. Excess water from a partially frozen turkey can cause bubbling in the hot oil, which could result in a serious fire if the oil bubbles over.
- Use the fryer outdoors and at a safe distance away from anything that could catch fire. 10 feet from the house is considered a safe distance.
- Keep the fryer on a stable, flat surface.
- Monitor the heat and use caution when handling the frying equipment. The lid and handle can become very hot.
- Purchase a deep-fried turkey from a grocery store if possible as a safe alternative
General Safety Concerns on Thanksgiving Day
- While cooking, stay in the kitchen and keep your eyes on all the food and hot surfaces and remember to check on the food often.
- keep a timer going for everything cooking so you don’t lose track of time or burn anything. Try to only cook one or two things at a time so you can track everything efficiently.
- Test smoke alarms – this should be done monthly to ensure proper working order
- Keep a fire extinguisher within reach.
Children and Pets
- If possible, keep children out of the kitchen, or at the least, away from the stove, oven, and other active appliances.
- Hot food or liquid could cause serious burns if it should spill or splash
- sharp knives and other kitchen utensils are usually within reach while you’re busy in the kitchen – keep them away from the edge of the surface, or even store them in an upper cabinet where it is completely out of reach from children
- dangling cords from electric kitchen appliances or utensils are a sure way to attract attention from a small child. They could pull a cord and harm themselves or others around them.
- kids and animals pose a tripping hazard, so keeping them away from the bustle in the kitchen is the best option
- turn pot and pan handles to the back of the cooktop to avoid bumping into them or making them an easy grabbing target for small children
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!