Thanskving is to kitchen as holiday is to eating, which means stoves are used more frequenty and so fire mishaps are more likely to occur.
With that in mind, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue has released a series of tips to keep in mind as the holiday season heats up.
First, some facts, based on recent reports from the National Fire Protection Association and the Consume Product Safety Commission:
- Cooking remains the No.1 cause of fires in the home.
- Cooking fires are the leading cause of home-fire injuries.
- Cooking fires are the third-leading cause of fire deaths.
- During the holidays, the number of cooking fires increases because people make more use of their kitchens.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue suggests the following safety tips:
- Be alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food: check regularly, remain in the home and use a time, to remind yourself that you are cooking.
- Keep away from the stovetop anything that can catch fire, including oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains.
- Be mindful of the clothes you are wearing; keep loose sleeves and other clothing away from the stovetop.
- When cooking on the stovetop, keep the lid to the pot nearby. If the pot on the stovetop catches fire and you can safely place the lid on the pot, do so to snuff out the flames. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on the pot until it has cooled.
What if there's a fire?
- If there is a fire, and if one is availble, use a residential fire extinguisher is as you leave the area. If you do try to fight the fire, make sure others are getting out, that you have a clear path out of the structure and that someone has called the fire department.
- Remember, though: Sometimes the best option is to "Just get out!"' When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
Frying, instead of cooking your turkey in the oven? Follow the fryer manufacturer's recommendations, and also these tips:
- Keep turkey fryer in full view while burner is on. Do not leave unattended.
- Place turkey fryer in an open area away from all walls, fences, or other structures.
- Never use the fryer in, on, under or close to a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or any other structure that can catch fire.
- Completely thaw and dry your turkey before cooking (USDA says to do so 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds). Wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
- Raise and lower food slowly into the fryer to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
- Cover bare skin with protective clothing when adding or removing food from the fryer.
- Check the oil temperature frequently.
- Make sure there is at least 2 feet of space between the liquid propane tank and fryer burner.
- Place the liquid propane gas tank and fryer so that if any wind blows the heat of the fryer will turn away from the gas tank.
- Center the pot over the burner on the cooker.
- If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn the gas supply off.
- If a fire occurs, immediately call 9-1-1. Do not attempt to extinguish the fire with water.