Thanksgiving is a day for family, football, food and — unfortunately for many families — fires.
Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking-related fires, Capital City Fire/Rescue Deputy Fire Marshal Sven Pearson said via email Monday. There are three times as many cooking fires on Thanksgiving as there are on a normal day, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Pearson listed off a number of tips for people looking to whip up a holiday feast this week, starting with the most basic: pay attention. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires on Thanksgiving, according to the NFPA.
Stand by your pan, Pearson advised, and if you’re cooking at high temperatures you should turn the burner off before you leave the kitchen. The same goes for if you’re roasting your meal, Pearson said: keep an eye on it.
If you see a fire start in your oven, don’t open the door, as flames could possibly spread and touch your clothing or you. First, Pearson said, turn off the heat and see if the fire dies down on its own. If the fire continues to spread, use a fire extinguisher.
If a fire extinguisher is not available and the fire is spreading, Pearson said to get out of the house and call the fire department. According to the NFPA, more than half of non-fatal cooking injuries are caused when people try to fight the fire themselves.
Pearson said that deep-frying your turkey could end disastrously — and not just for your cholesterol. Turkey fryers can tip and spill hot oil. A partially frozen turkey can cause hot oil to splatter, and turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire. Pearson said turkey fryers should be used outside, and not on a wooden deck or in a garage.
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