November 24, 2015 1:12 am
“A combination of factors collectively increases the risk of home cooking fires on Thanksgiving,” says Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “People are often preparing multiple dishes with lots of guests and other distractions, which can make it all too easy to forget what’s on the stove. That’s when cooking mishaps are most likely to occur. A little added awareness about potential fire hazards and taking a few basic precautions in the kitchen can go a long way toward keeping your Thanksgiving fire-free.”
Those precautions include the following:
1. Remain in the kitchen while you’re cooking, and keep a close eye on what you fry! Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Regularly check on food that’s simmering, baking or roasting, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
2. Keep items that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains away from the cooking area.
3. Be alert when cooking. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
4. Double up on disposable aluminum pans if using to cook a turkey. This will help avoid puncture and dripping liquid, which can cause an oven fire.
5. Avoid using a turkey fryer. The use of turkey fryers can potentially lead to devastating burns and other injuries and the destruction of property due to the large amount (and high temperature) of oil used. If you prefer a fried turkey, look for grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants that sell deep-fried turkeys.
6. If necessary, smother small fires with a lid. If you have a small (grease) cooking fire on the stovetop and decide to fight the fire, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
Published with permission from RISMedia.