Serve Safety at Thanksgiving

Marilu Trainor

Thanksgiving means family and friends celebrating, cooking, and eating.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the number of cooking fires on Thanksgiving is three times as high as on any other day of the year.

“We hope you will enjoy the holiday and be cautious. It is important to keep safety in mind,” said Goodyear Fire Department Captain/Paramedic Mario Santos. “We caution you to be aware of jammed stovetops and crowded kitchens, turkey fryers, and candles—these are all things that easily contribute to a higher fire risk on Turkey Day.”

Prevention Tips

* Always have a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it. In case of a fire, use the extinguisher immediately and have someone else call 911.

* Keep pot handles turned inward and out of the reach of others.

* Keep a flame-resistant oven mitt, potholder, or lid nearby to smother any flames.

* For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.

* Have working smoke alarms in the home and have an escape plan that the entire family knows if there is a fire.

* Keep baking soda on hand to put out kitchen fires.

* Don’t let children and pets play near a lit candle.

Check Cooking Equipment

* Start the holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven.

* Check that all cooking equipment you plan to use is in good working order.

* Set up your kitchen a week before as you would on Thanksgiving Day to ensure sufficient counter space, outlets, etc. Check all wires/cords on all cooking appliances before use.

Beware of Cluttered Kitchens

* A cluttered kitchen can lead to unattended cooking hazards if the host is distracted by friends and family.

* Set up appetizers and drinks in a separate room to deter guests from crowding the kitchen and distracting you from safe cooking practices.

* Set up another area away from kitchen counters for guests to leave dishes. If a dish needs to be plugged in, set up a separate area near an outlet.

* It’s best to avoid using extension cords in a busy kitchen as the cords can easily get tangled up with heated items or overload an outlet.

* Kids or pets in a busy kitchen is simply a bad idea. They can knock over hot liquids, cause tripping hazards, run into countertops or appliances, or burn themselves.

Cooking the Bird Your Way

* Never leave the turkey cooking unattended.

* Frying your turkeys has gained in popularity in recent years. It is very easy for the fryer to overflow oil onto the burner and cause a grease fire. NFPA advises against the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers. If you choose to fry your turkey, set up the fryer in an outdoor area away from all structures. Watch for yard debris and overhanging trees.

* Oven baked turkeys can also ignite, but it’s rare. If that should happen, try to snuff out the flames with a lid while it’s still in the oven. Removing the flaming turkey can possibly catch other items on fire.