Boone Fire Department wants everyone to have a safe and enjoyable holiday. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire related injuries in the US and Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. No matter how many years you’ve been cooking or how many Thanksgiving feasts you’ve served, you still need to make safety your main ingredient. Start by following these prevention tips:
- Make your cooking area safe. Move things that can burn away from the stove. Turn pot handles toward the back so that they can’t be bumped.
- Keep kids away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee can cause serious burns. Keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop to keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home and use a timer when roasting a turkey or baking pies.
- Be prepared. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in case you need to smother a pan fire.
- Stay awake and alert while you’re cooking. If you see smoke or the grease starts to boil in your pan, turn the burner off.
- Prevent burns. Wear short sleeves when you cook, or roll them up. Don’t lean over the burner. Use potholders and oven mitts to handle hot cookware.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys and other items.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Now is the time of year to change the batteries. Test them by pushing the test button.
- Use extra caution if you deep-fry your turkey.
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 will 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. 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.