Thanksgiving is on its way…and so is Fire Damage
For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations.
Not only is Thanksgiving the biggest day for home cooking fires, but these types of fires make up a much larger proportion of all fires that happen on Thanksgiving. The positive news, if you can call it that, is the residential fires that occur at Thanksgiving tend to do less damage than home cooking fires do normally. In addition, they only lead to 11 injuries per 1,000 fires. Part of this is because the fires don’t tend to spread as far. Most home fires on Thanksgiving are limited to the object of the origin of the fire. Only a small percentage spreads beyond the room of origin.
There are three main methods of cooling on Thanksgiving; Stovetop, Oven, and Deep Fryer
Stovetop and Oven Quick Tips
Busy cooks can become distracted by preparing several dishes at once while also trying to entertain guests. Cooking fires can easily be prevented by following a few simple precautions:
- Start the holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven. Remove food and grease buildup from burners, stovetop, and oven.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking and don’t become distracted by guests.
- Stay in the home when cooking turkey, set a timer, and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. Preferably use the back burners.
- Keep a flame-resistant oven mitt, potholder or lid nearby to smother any flames.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- Have working smoke alarms in the home and have an escape plan that the entire family knows if there is a fire.
Deep Fry Quick Tips
Never use a turkey fryer indoors, in the garage or on a covered patio because of the fire hazard. Never overfill the oil in a turkey fryer. Many turkey fires occur while the oil is being heated. Units can easily tip over, spilling hot, scalding oil onto anyone or anything nearby, leading to fires, burns or other injuries. Since most units do not have automatic thermostatic controls, the oil may heat until it catches fire. The sides, lids, and handles get extremely hot and may cause burns.
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Completely thaw the turkey. A partially frozen turkey will cause hot oil to splatter.
- Allow at least two feet of space between the liquid propane tank and the fryer burner.
- Only use the oil recommended by the manufacturer. Different types of oil have different ignition temperatures.
- Do not overfill the fryer with oil. Before dumping a few gallons of oil into the fryer, test it out with water. Place the turkey inside and then fill it with water until the bird is submerged. Mark the water line on the fryer and remove the turkey. Doing this will let you know how much oil to put in the fryer. An overfilled cooking pot will cause the oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Turkey fryers can easily tip over spilling hot oil across a large area. The pot, lid, and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries.
- Keep children and pets well away from the fryer. Remember the oil will remain dangerously hot for hours.
In all types of cooking throughout the year
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts; wear safety goggles to protect eyes from oil splatter.
- If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn OFF the gas supply.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby.
- Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
Keep safe this holiday season. Just remember, if tragedy strikes, the professionals at SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie are here to help and make it like it never even happened
Sources: nfpa.org, cover.com, dhs.gov, and Antoinette Ryan