Sarasota County reminds you to be safe while cooking this year’s Thanksgiving feast.
SARASOTA COUNTY – As families prepare Thanksgiving meals, keep safety in mind, since cooking fires are more likely to occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. On Thanksgiving Day, the incidence of home cooking fires is roughly three times the daily average, statistics show.
Studies by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show cooking fires are the primary cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Hundreds of Americans are killed each year due to home cooking fires, and thousands more are injured. Cooking fires also cause roughly half a billion dollars in direct property damage to homes and the belongings inside.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in entertaining guests, but monitor meal preparation closely, as most cooking fires start because cooking has been left unattended.
If you’re using a turkey fryer, keep in mind that deep-frying cooking process requires heating up to five gallons of oil before placing the turkey into the device. Tests have shown that a number of available turkey fryer devices are not sturdy and can easily tip over, allowing hot oil to spill, which creates a serious risk of fire or burns.There also have been reports of turkey fryers overheating, which can result in hot oil spilling or splattering outside the fryer, leading to dangerous fires, serious injuries and property loss. Always fry turkeys outside on a nonflammable surface.
Sarasota County Fire Marshal John Reed offers these tips for safer cooking:
Stand by your pan
- Stay in the kitchen when you are boiling, frying, grilling or broiling food.
- If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly; remain in the home while the food is cooking; and use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.
- Keep in mind that you should avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Loose clothing can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
No kids allowed
- Keep kids away from cooking areas by enforcing a kid-free zone of three feet around the stove.
- If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible, and turn pot handles inward to reduce the risk that pots with hot contents will be knocked over.
- Never hold a small child while cooking.
Keep it clean
- Keep anything that can catch fire – pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains – away from your stove top.
- Clean up food and grease from burners, the stovetop and the oven.
All residences should have a fire extinguisher; however, if you experience an oven or stove top fire, do not panic. Follow these tips:
- Oven fire – Keep the oven door closed, and turn the oven off. Opening the oven door allows oxygen to enter and the fire to flare up. Make sure the flames have completely gone out before opening the oven.
- Stove top fire – Never use water or try to “beat” the fire out with a towel, etc. Turn the stove off, if you can do so safely. If the fire is inside a pan, try to put a lid or nonflammable cover on the pan to smoother the fire. Do not try to remove the pan from the stove. Doing so can cause serious burns and/or the spread the fire. In the event that the fire cannot be controlled, use an approved fire extinguisher. If the fire cannot be safety extinguished, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information on keeping your family safe for the holidays, call the Sarasota County Fire Prevention Office at 941-861-2290 or visit the county’s website at www.scgov.net.