With Thanksgiving coming up, the Hanford Fire Department would like to help you make it a safe holiday for you and your family. Cooking fires are one of the major causes of home fires and home fire injuries, and more fires start in the kitchen than any other part of the home. The leading cause of cooking fires is leaving cooking food unattended, so follow these tips to ensure a safe Thanksgiving:
- Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove.
- Monitor food cooking in the oven.
- Keep children away from cooking areas and create a three foot “kid-free zone” around the stove.
- Keep cooking areas clear of combustible materials (e.g., towels, rags, drapes, food packaging).
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking.
- Keep oven mitts, pot holders, and lids available.
- If a fire starts in your kitchen call 9-1-1 immediately and if the fire is small enough try these tips:
If a fire starts in a pan on the stove, turn OFF the burner, put on an oven mitt and cover the pan with a lid which will smother the fire.
- NEVER use water on a grease fire, because it can spread the burning grease around the kitchen.
- If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you.
- If there is a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave.
Avoid Using Turkey Fryers
Over the past few years, the method of deep frying turkeys has become a popular form of cooking Thanksgiving turkeys. Although it is popular, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled fryers that immerse turkeys in hot oil. The use of these fryers can lead to devastating burns and the destruction of property even if used by careful consumers. The NFPA believes that current turkey fryers that use oil are not suitable for acceptable safe use for the following reasons:
- The hot oil may splash or spill during the cooking process and contact between the hot oil and skin can result in serious injury.
- The stands used in the cooking process are prone to collapse and being tipped over which will cause a spill of hot oil (approximately five gallons).
- Cooking oil is combustible and when heated beyond its cooking temperature, will give off vapors that can ignite.
- The propane-fueled fryers are designed for outdoor use and should never be used indoors, in garages, under porches, or any type of structure that can burn.
- If the cooking pot is over-filled with oil, it may spill hot oil when the turkey is immersed into the cooking pot and cause a fire if the oil comes into contact with open flame which will engulf the entire unit.
If you prefer fried turkey, the NFPA and Hanford Fire Department urge you to seek out professional businesses that specialize in this type of preparation or consider using a new type of turkey fryer that does not use oil. Have a safe Thanksgiving!