According to the Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services Department, Thanksgiving is a time of year when serious fires can occur. Thanksgiving Day tops the charts as one of the peak days for home cooking fires.
Cooking is the leading cause of fires and fire related injuries across the country. Deep fryer fires result in more than $15 million in property damage each year in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Cooking fires are easily preventable. Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services offers these tips for safer cooking this holiday:
When deep frying turkeys, there are number of things to remember:
Only use an approved turkey fryer with four legs and a built-in thermostat so proper oil temperature can be maintained. Make sure the fryer cannot tip over, a major cause of most fires.
Fry outdoors, away from buildings and other combustible items. Never use a fryer indoors. Keep children and pets away while frying.
Follow instructions on what size turkey should be used, how it should be cooked and what type of oil to use.
Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry. Do not stuff the bird and don’t forget to take out the bag of gizzards. Lower the turkey into the hot oil slowly.
Never leave the fryer unattended. Wear fry gloves; regular oven mittens may not be insulated enough.
Splashing oil can cause a flash fire and serious burns, so be careful.
Other holiday safety tips include:
When cooking indoors using a natural gas or propane stove, make sure there is not a buildup of carbon monoxide in the home. The stove is a common source of carbon monoxide in the home, especially if you are cooking for several hours. Run any vents you have in the kitchen, especially the one over the stove. You should open windows/doors in the kitchen at least once each hour to allow fresh air to circulate into the kitchen.
Make sure you have a properly operating smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector in the home.
In the case of a stove fire, shut off the stove and cover the burning pan with a lid or use a fire extinguisher. Do not throw water, salt, flour or any other substance on the fire; these substances can cause the fire to flare up. Do not try to move a burning pan outside.
If there is a fire inside the oven, shut off the oven and leave the door shut. Call 9-1-1 and report the fire and leave the home until firefighters arrive.
If using candles for decorations, never leave burning candles unattended and keep combustible items away.
If you use a fireplace, make sure the damper is open and the chimney flue is clear to allow smoke and gases to escape properly. Discard ashes into a pail of water and let them soak for several hours before discarding. Do not discard ashes in the trash or store them in cardboard boxes or trash bags.
When retiring for the evening, make a final inspection of your home and ensure that all appliances, especially the stove, are turned off. If you used outside appliances such as a barbecue or turkey fryer, make sure the gas is off and ashes are put in a pail of water.
If smoking was permitted in your home, check all furniture for improperly discarded smoking material. Take all trash outside and keep it away from the house.