Remembering fire safety while preparing your Thanksgiving feasts

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Due to the ongoing pandemic, many families will not be gathering as they typically would to celebrate Thanksgiving.

While our grandparents and parents may be versed in cooking the turkey and all of the fixings, others are stepping into the kitchen for the first time.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,630 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.

Potter County Fire Department’s Public Information Officer, Steven Denny, wants to make sure you keep safety in mind while you prepare your feasts. Especially when it comes to doing what he said is the most dangerous method of cooking a turkey.

Denny said there are a couple of things to remember while deep frying a turkey. Mainly to always use the equipment outside in a well-ventilated area.

“You also have an appliance that’s using gas and oxygen that could deplete your environment of oxygen,” said Denny. “So take it away, take it outside. Get it at least six to 10 feet away from any flammable materials.”

Denny said to try to fry your turkey on a driveway or similar hard surface.

If a fire does break out, know how to handle it.

“You want to make sure and have a fire extinguisher ready just in case, and if anything happens, try and turn the bottle off that’ll kill the flames to the to the appliance, and hopefully it’ll go out,” said Denny.

Denny said the most common indoor fire encountered while cooking is a stovetop fire. He said it is usually best to cover it with something that is non-flammable, like the lid to a pot.

“You never want to put water on a grease fire, you always want to take it off the heat if possible, and then apply some sort of covering to it,” said Denny.

What about oven fires? Denny told us the best thing to do is to turn off the oven and leave it inside the oven.

“The oven … is usually heat and fireproof, and that’s the best place to have a fire if you’re going to have to have one,” Denny added.

Some may ask “at what point do I call the fire department?” Denny said if there are flames in the house, it is a good idea to go ahead and call.

“People thinking that they can take care of a fire themselves. And that’s how you’re going to get injured. In a cooking fire incident. One of the best things for you to do is get away from it and let us deal with it.,” said Denny.

Denny also wants to remind everyone to make sure to cook their turkeys to FDA standards, and to ensure any stuffing inside is cooked to the minimum internal temperature.

The National Fire Protection Association offers these safety tip for you to keep in mind:

  • 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 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 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 a room with a lit candle.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks, or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

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