Serving up fire safety in the kitchen this Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is usually a festive but hectic holiday, where people are often preparing several dishes at once. This year it may look a little different for entertaining friends and family, but there will still be a lot of the usual cooking and distractions that contribute to the increase in cooking fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,630 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day, three and half times an average day. Unattended cooking was by far the leading cause of associated fires and fire deaths, making cooking the leading cause of U.S. home and home fire injuries year-round and the second-leading cause of home fire deaths.
The Bullhead City Fire Department would like to offer the following tips and recommendations for cooking safety this Thanksgiving.
- Never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Some types of cooking, especially those that involve frying or sautéing with oil, need continuous attention.
- When cooking a turkey or other items in the oven, stay in your home, and regularly check it.
- Set a timer on your stove or phone to keep track of cooking times, particularly for foods that require longer cook times.
- Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels away from direct contact with the cooking area.
- Avoid long sleeves and hanging fabrics that could come in contact with a heat source.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on a grease fire.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Only open the door once you are confident the fire is completely out, standing to the side as you do.
- Keep children at least three feet away from the stove and areas where hot food or drink is being prepared or served. Steam or spills from these items can cause severe burns.
A Note About Frying Turkeys
Deep-frying turkeys has become popular in recent years. This cooking method has a lot of risks. Turkey fryers get hot all over, so they need to be handled with great care and only by an adult. They can tip over, spilling hot cooking oil. Partially frozen turkeys placed into hot fryers will cause the oil to splatter. If fryers are overfilled, the hot oil can spill over the side when the turkey is added. Even a small amount of oil on a hot burner can start a fire. If you deep-fry a turkey, place the fryer outside on a flat surface that can’t burn, such as cement. Place the fryer several feet from anything that can catch fire. Don’t let children or pets come anywhere near it. An adult should watch the fryer while it cooks and use a fryer with thermostat controls. Without these controls, the oil can heat to the point of catching fire. Thaw the turkey completely before cooking it so that ice crystals won’t splatter the hot oil. Use potholders and oven mitts when handling the turkey, and remember that fire safety is everyone’s responsibility! Happy Thanksgiving from the Bullhead City Fire Department.