ROCK SPRINGS – In less than a week, kitchens will fill with those familiar Thanksgiving smells as families reunite and enjoy personal family traditions. But, did you know Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment?
With this in mind, the Rock Springs Fire Department is giving families tips to stay safe this Thanksgiving. As Rock Springs FIre Chief Lyle Armstrong often says, we want you to enjoy the holidays and make memories that will last forever, but not memories of a tragedy.
Children often want to assist when it comes to preparing food around the holiday. Armstrong said parents should have activities that will keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time. Games, puzzles or books can help keep them busy. Kids can get involved in Thanksgiving preparations with recipes that can be done outside the kitchen.
Other Safety tips
Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop 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 3 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.
It seems like only yesterday turkey fryers and deep fried turkeys were the craze. Many people still use turkey fryers for their bird.
Armstrong said the National Fire Protection Agency discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil. The NFPA reported these turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures and units currently available for home use pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process.
The use of turkey fryers by consumers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property. NFPA urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out professional establishments, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants for the preparation of the dish, or consider a new type of “oil-less” turkey fryer.
– Hot oil may splash or spill at any point during the cooking process, when the fryer is jarred or tipped over, the turkey is placed in the fryer or removed, or the turkey is moved from the fryer to the table. Any contact between hot oil and skin could result in serious injury. Any contact between hot oil and nonmetallic materials could lead to serious damage.
– A major spill of hot oil can occur with fryers designed for outdoor use with a stand. These units are particularly vulnerable to upset or collapse, followed by a major spill of hot oil. Newer countertop units using a solid base appear to reduce this particular risk. NFPA does not believe that consumer education alone can make the risks of either type of turkey fryer acceptably low because of the large quantities of hot oil involved and the speed and severity of burn likely to occur with contact.
– In deep frying, oil is heated to temperatures of 350 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Cooking oil is combustible, and if it is heated beyond its cooking temperature, its vapors can ignite. This is a fire danger separate from the burn danger inherent in the hot oil. Overheating can occur if temperature controls, which are designed to shut off the fryer if the oil overheats, are defective, or if the appliance has no temperature controls.
– Propane-fired turkey fryers are designed for outdoor use, particularly for Thanksgiving, by which time both rain and snow are common in many parts of the country. If rain or snow strikes exposed hot cooking oil, the result can be a splattering of the hot oil or a conversion of the rain or snow to steam, either of which can lead to burns. The frozen turkey may splatter hot oil, which could cause a serious injury.
– The approximately 5 gallons of oil in these devices introduce an additional level of hazard to deep fryer cooking, as does the size and weight of the turkey, which must be safely lowered into and raised out of the large quantity of hot oil. Many turkeys are purchased frozen, and they may not be fully thawed when cooking begins. As with a rainy day, a defrosting turkey creates the risk of contact between hot cooking oil and water.
– There is a new outdoor turkey cooking appliance that does not use oil. NFPA believes these should be considered as an alternative. NFPA understands that this appliance will be listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
NFPA continues to believe that turkey fryers that use oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for acceptably safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer. Consumers may find packaging of turkey fryers displaying independent product safety testing labels. NFPA is familiar with the details of these test standards and does not believe that they are sufficiently comprehensive regarding the different ways in which serious harm can occur, and, in some cases, regarding the different parts of the turkey fryer that need to be tested.