Article by Dale Grant – Marketing Specialist
We all have Thanksgiving traditions that we look forward to. For some it’s sitting down to enjoy New York’s iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There are the more masochistic among us who enjoy an early morning 5k Turkey Trot or rooting for the Detroit Lions. For some, it’s sitting down to watch the cinematic masterpiece “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” or preparing for Black Friday shopping while listening to “Eye of the Tiger.”
But for nearly all of us, Thanksgiving is mainly about coming together with family and loved ones to enjoy a traditional meal. These meals are often a labor of love, the result of meticulous planning and a regimented cooking schedule to produce a feast worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting.
With so much going on to prepare this feast, partnered with the inherent pressures of entertaining, it is easy to see how people could get distracted and let slip the fundamentals of fire safety and prevention.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires resulting in over 1160 incidents, a 297% increase over the daily average.
So how do we keep our Thanksgiving memories of visits with family and friends and not of firefighters and ambulances?
The NFPA provides the following safety tips:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot, and kids should stay three feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. Steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in a room with a lit candle.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks, or bags.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Cooking means cooking oil and cooking oil increases the chance of a grease fire. Grease fires are especially dangerous and if not handled correctly can be spread quickly. It is important to handle them correctly. For small grease fires, take the following steps.
- Do not move the pan. Moving in the pan can result in the grease spilling and spreading the cooking fuel fire. Turn off the heat.
- DO NOT use water. Smother the fire with a metal pot lid or sheet pan.
- Pour baking soda on the flames. This will only work for a small fire, and it takes A LOT of baking soda to do the job.
- Spray the Pot with a Class B Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher. This will contaminate your kitchen, but eating take-out is a better alternative to burning the house down.
- If the fire does get out of control, GET OUT and CALL 911. Things can be replaced, lives cannot.
Talking Turkey… Fryers
Turkey Fryers that use oil are not safe. These fryers use large amounts of oil at high temperatures which can cause devasting burns and can easily get out of control with catastrophic results. If a deep-fried Turkey is a must have for your holiday festivities, purchase one from your local grocery store, a restaurant or buy a fryer that does not use oil.
To see just how dangerous these turkey fryers are, watch this video from the NFPA, or this one from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or any of the countless other local news reports that show just how quickly something can go wrong with devasting results.
Seriously…it’s not worth it.
So as you sit down to dinner with family and friends, please keep cooking safety top of mind. With common sense fire safety practices and a little vigilance, we can keep our Thanksgiving memories free of the trauma of avoidable cooking fires and more focused on what is truly important, the connection with our loved ones, the thrill of seeing the Dallas Cowboys lose and remembering what a national treasure John Candy was.
From all of us at Oliver Fire Protection & Security, have a Happy and, most importantly, Safe Thanksgiving.