According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is a peak day for home cooking fires. On Thanksgiving Day, the number of home cooking fires was three times the national average of fires per day in 2009.
The NFPA cites cooking fires as the number one cause of home fires and related injuries. In 2005-2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 155,400 home fires per year involving cooking equipment. These fires caused an annual average of 290 civilian deaths, 4,800 civilian injuries and $771 million in direct property damage.
The Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office and NFPA offer cooking safety tips:
• Cook with caution.
• Keep anything that can catch fire (oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, curtains, etc.) away from your stovetop.
• Always stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the area for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
• If you are simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly. Remain in the home while food is cooking and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
• Be on alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire:
• Just get out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
• Call 911 and report the fire after you leave.
• If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear path to your way out of the home and that someone has called the fire department.
• Keep a lid nearby when cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
• For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
Several tips for individuals who are deep frying turkeys include:
• Never leave it unattended. A responsible adult should remain with the deep fryer at all times when it is on.
• Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
• Deep fry the turkey in an area away from combustibles such as leaves, household items, trees, etc. Cook over dirt, stone or other non-flammable surface.
• Keep small children away from the area you are deep frying the turkey in.
• Pre-measure the oil. Place your turkey in the cold fryer and add oil to cover the bird. Remove the turkey and then heat the oil.
• Shut off the flame when lowering the turkey into the hot oil incase any oil spills over.
• Lower the bird slowly to prevent boil over.
• Use a thermometer to guarantee the turkey reaches the proper cooked temperature.
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