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Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2010, there were 1,370 fires on Thanksgiving, a 219 percent increase over the daily average.

STAY KITCHEN SAFE

  • 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. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • 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 room with a lit a candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
  • Open microwaved food slowly, away from the face. Hot steam or the food itself can cause burns.
  • Food heats unevenly in microwave ovens. Stir and test before eating or giving to children.
  • Nearly half (45 percent) of the microwave oven injuries seen at emergency rooms in 2009 were scalds.
  • Thirty-one percent of the scald burns and 14 percent of all microwave oven related injuries were scald burns incurred by children under 5 years of age.

If you have a cooking fire

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re 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.

Turkey Fryer safety

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is issuing safety tips for preventing fires and burns when using turkey fryers. Since 1998, CPSC has reports of 75 incidents that involved fires, flames, or burns associated with turkey fryers. Twenty-eight of these incidents were reported for the year 2002. Here are some of the hazard scenarios:

  • House fires associated with turkey fryers leading to injuries and property damage.
  • Ignition of oil used with turkey fryers. This was often related to oil reaching excess temperatures or oil contacting the open flame of the fryer.
  • Splashing of hot oil causing burns.

The majority of reported incidents occurred while the oil was being heated, prior to adding the turkey. For this reason, it is very important consumers monitor the temperature of the oil closely. If any smoke at all is noticed coming from a heating pot of oil, the burner should be turned off immediately because the oil is overheated.

There is a risk of injury resulting from splashing due to the cooking of partially frozen meats. Thoroughly thaw and dry ALL meats before cooking in hot oil. One reported burn incident occurred when partially frozen chicken wings were added to hot oil in a turkey fryer.

CPSC staff recommends consumers who choose to fry turkeys follow the following safety guidelines:

  • Keep fryer in FULL VIEW while burner is on.
  • Place fryer in an open area AWAY from all walls, fences, or other structures.
  • Never use IN, ON, or UNDER a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or any structure that can catch fire.
  • Raise and lower food SLOWLY to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
  • Cover bare skin when adding or removing food.
  • Check the oil temperature frequently.
  • If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn gas supply off.
  • If a fire occurs, immediately call 911. DO NOT attempt to extinguish fire with water.

For safest operation, CPSC staff recommends that consumers follow these guidelines as they prepare to use a turkey fryer:

  • Make sure there is at least two feet of space between the liquid propane tank and fryer burner.
  • Place the liquid propane gas tank and fryer so that any wind blows the heat of the fryer away from the gas tank.
  • Center the pot over the burner on the cooker.
  • Completely thaw (USDA says 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds) and dry turkey before cooking. Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions to determine the proper amount of oil to add. If those are not available:

    • Place turkey in pot
    • Fill with water until the turkey is covered by about one half inch of water
    • Remove and dry turkey
    • Mark water level. Dump water, dry the pot, and fill with oil to the marked level.

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