Thanksgiving Day is a time for family, friends, and a delicious feast. With kids running around, the stove on, and the table candles lit, it’s important to keep safety a priority. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 2016, U.S. Fire Departments responded to roughly 1,570 residential cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day which is the peak day for home cooking fires. There are nearly four times as many home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day as any other typical day of the year. We have come up with a few tips and tricks to avoid the dangers that cooking a beautiful Thanksgiving meal could bring.
Deep-frying a turkey
From the turducken to beer can turkeys, Thanksgiving Day recipes have gotten more creative over the years. One of the newest and most popular recipes for this holiday bird is deep-frying it in a vat of boiling oil. While the results of a deep-fried turkey are delicious, this cooking method comes with many safety issues. So, before you set up your turkey fryer this Thanksgiving, take these safety tips into consideration:
- It’s suggested that you don’t fry a turkey larger than 14 pounds because any larger the skin will burn before the inside cooks. If you have a lot of people to feed, it’s best to fry two smaller turkeys.
- Use a turkey that is thawed and dry no matter how you choose to cook it. Leaving meat out to defrost on a countertop can cause salmonella poising, so make sure to choose the correct thawing method. The USDA states that to properly defrost your turkey, you should leave it in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of bird.
- Excess water on the turkey causes bubbling oil and overfilling the fryer runs the risk of oil spilling over both resulting in a substantial fire, so be very thoughtful during preparation.
- Make sure your fryer is used outdoors, on a solid level surface that is more than 10 feet away from the home. Do not place your fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, or inside a garage in case of a fire.
- A fryer without thermostat controls can continue to heat oil until it is at the point of combustion. Do not leave the fryer unattended and keep a cautious eye on the heat to prevent boiling or smoking oil.
- Wear protective clothing to protect yourself from splatter. Use well-insulated oven mitts and long sleeves to cover hands and arms close to hot oil.
Grease fires happen when cooking oil gets too hot. While your oil is heating it will begin to boil, smoke, and then catch on fire. If a grease fire does happen, follow these steps to put it out:
- Tip: A grease fire can escalate quickly, so while you can follow these tips to put a fire out, call 911 as soon as you suspect you will not be able to keep the fire under control.
- Turn off the heat source and cover the flames with a metal lid or cookie sheet
- Leave the cover on until everything has cooled down
- You can use salt or baking soda to smother a small fire if the fire is in your oven, however, do not attempt to use flour, baking powder, or other cooking powders as they may cause the problem to get worse.
- Do not use water! Pouring water on burning grease causes the water to vaporize and carry grease particles thus spreading the fire and creating an even larger problem.
- Do not carry the pot or pan outside! You’ll likely spill the grease which will spread the fire within the home.
- If the fire gets out of hand, get out of the house and call 911 as soon as you are safe
- For more tips about how to deal with grease and cooking fires visit: nfpa.org
It is easy to get distracted when you are cooking multiple dishes and trying to entertain at the same time. Walking away from a hot pan on the stove, or leaving something in the oven for too long only increases the chances of a cooking fire. Take these safety tips into consideration while you are preparing your meal this holiday:
- Stay in the kitchen when you have burners on to keep a close eye on the food
- For dishes in the oven, make sure to set a timer that you will be able to hear from anywhere in the house
- Keep a clean cooking space with floors that are clear from things you could trip on, and counter space near flames that are free from things like oven mitts, towels, and scraps that could potentially catch on fire.
- Children should stay at least three feet away from the stove, hot foods, and liquids unless accompanied by an adult
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working prior to cooking your feast! You can easily check them by pressing the test button
- In the case of a fire, call 911 immediately.
We are thankful for you:
EPS is thankful for safety and security. We want your Thanksgiving Day to be memorable for all the right reasons, and that’s why we make sure that you are always protected. With 24/7 monitoring 365 days a year you can be sure you’re always covered, even on the holidays. We hope you have a wonderful Turkey Day, enjoying time with friends and family giving thanks for the things that matter most. If you’re interested in finding out what EPS Security can do for you, click the link below.