By Michael Campbell
Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. The average number of home fires on Thanksgiving Day is normally double the average number of fires in homes all other days.
Help keep your community and organization safe by sharing the following safety tips and social media resources. This way, everyone can have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
— Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking, especially when frying, broiling or boiling.
— Make your cooking area safe. Move things that can burn away from the stove. Turn pot handles toward the back so they can’t be bumped.
— Watch what you’re cooking. Use a timer when roasting a turkey or baking.
— Be prepared. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in case you need to smother a pan fire.
— Stay awake and alert while you’re cooking. If you see smoke or the grease starts to boil in your pan, turn the burner off.
— Prevent burns. Wear short sleeves when you cook or roll them up. Don’t lean over the burner. Use potholders and oven mitts to handle hot cookware.
Safety tips for Turkey Fryers:
— Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
— An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot.
— Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
— Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
— The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot.
Always use fryers outdoors; never in your house, garage or on your deck.
Everyone has a responsibility for preventing fire. It is up to you to report any unsafe situation and to correct it if you are qualified and authorized to do so.
For more information on fire safety, call 573.596.0886.
(Editor’s note: Campbell is a fire inspector with the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department.)