Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? As your neighbors to the north, Sandy and I celebrate Thanksgiving in October. Aside from the difference in dates, our celebrations are essentially the same. For most of us it means a large gathering of family and friends, and a bounteous meal of turkey and all the trimmings. Most often it is followed by football on television and for many of our U.S. friends, a jump on the Black Friday shopping events. But did you know that Thanksgiving is actually one of the most dangerous days of the year?
It may surprise you to learn that, according to the American Fire Protection Association (AFPA), Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires! The sad truth is that three times as many home fires happen on Thanksgiving Day, compared to any other day of the year.
The cause of most these fires? Unattended cooking.
With all of the activities taking place in the home, it is easy to get distracted. However, there are steps you can take to stay safe in the kitchen and ensure that your Thanksgiving is trouble free:
– Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove so you can keep watch over the food.
– Stay in the home when you are cooking your turkey and be sure to check it frequently. Make use of a timer if possible to remind you to check.
– Keep children away from the stove while cooking. A distance of at least three feet away is recommended.
– Make sure your smoke detectors are working!
– Do you have a fire extinguisher nearby in your kitchen?
– NEVER try to fight a grease or electrical fire with water. Smother the fire with a pot lid and always use a fire extinguisher.
– Don’t overload your electrical outlets.
– Never wear loose or hanging clothing that could catch fire.
– Unplug any unused appliances that could accidentally be turned and left on.
– Replace any appliances with frayed cords to avoid electrical shock.
Turkey Fryer Fires
Turkey fryers pose an even greater risk of danger. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) actually discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil.
However, if you must use the turkey fryer, please follow the following safety recommendations:
– Only use an approved turkey fryer with a built-in thermostat so you can maintain the proper oil temperature.
– Make sure you have a fryer that cannot tip over. This is generally the major cause of most turkey fryer fires.
– Always fry OUTDOORS, and away from buildings and any combustible items. NEVER use a fryer indoors.
– Keep children, pets, and football throwing activities completely away from the area while frying!
– FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS on what size turkey you can use, how long it should be cooked and what type of oil is appropriate to use in your fryer.
– Make sure the turkey is COMPLETELY thawed and dry. Leave the bird unstuffed and while it may seem obvious, don’t forget to take out the bag of gizzards. Lower the turkey VERY SLOWLY into the hot oil.
– Don’t EVER leave the fryer unattended.
– WEAR GLOVES that will protect you against the oil. Regular oven mittens just won’t cut it here!
So make this Thanksgiving a safe one and take the time to add the element of safety to your holiday!
Any other safety tips you could share? Feel free to share your experiences, thoughts or questions below.
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Terry Peterman, The Internet Electrician®