The holidays are a celebration that could “fire up” a lot of people. This is a good time to see friends and relatives and have the chance to enjoy the company of people that you care about. A time to remember all the blessings and good things that happen in your life. Celebration is not possible without prepared foods and this inclination to prepare a worthy feast could also result to some mishaps at home. Holiday dinners are never complete without the traditional deliciously prepared turkey gracing the dining table.
One of the most common mishaps that could occur during holiday feasts is a fire accident. Since feasts by name, means an abundant amount of food, this could mean hours of cooking and preparation which ultimately could lead to forgetfulness and mistakes. The most common mistake is leaving the kitchen while the oven is still on. There could be many reasons to leave the kitchen unattended; for example, the turkey may take more than two hours to cook and who wants to wait around while it slowly cooks? Also, creating a feast requires you to multitask and make several dishes at a time. Leaving the turkey unattended to cook is actually quite dangerous. The reason is the grease that comes out from the turkey while it roasts and this oily substance can bubble over and create a small grease fire. If these small grease fires are not quickly smothered, the fire could spread.
The National Journal stated that every year, the fire department responds to 1000 fires related to deep fryers. This accounts for an estimated $15 million in property damage and serious burn injuries. It was also disclosed from a State Farm record, Texas was the top state in terms of grease and cooking-related insurance claims for the last seven years on Thanksgiving Day with 38 recorded cases. Illinois ranked second with 27 reported cases and Ohio tied with Pennsylvania in the third place with 23 fire insurance claims. Other notable states when it comes to Thanksgiving Day fires are New York with 22 claims, and South Carolina and Georgia at 16 fire claims each.
As it turns out, the patio or the garage is not the best place to cook the turkey; 30 percent of Thanksgiving fires happened in these two areas. Here are safety tips to avoid kitchen fires:
- Never leave your kitchen unattended while cooking. Our sense of time maybe off and what may seem to be a few minutes away from the kitchen may actually have been more than enough for a small fire to grow into a large fire.
- Have a fire extinguisher ready in the kitchen especially when there will be lots cooking activity.
- Be familiar with common causes of fire and how to handle them. Make sure all family members know what to do in case of a fire.
- Never douse a fire caused by grease or oil because it will worsen the situation. Turn off the fryer when the oil starts to smoke or catch fire and the fire should be smothered with a cloth of some sort.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking. A loose sleeve may get entangled with the pan or catch fire. It is also not safe to overly expose skin and feet while cooking since the arms and feet are the usual places hot oil may splatter into.
- Use pot holders that fit your hand well to avoid slips while handling pots filled with hot liquids.
- Have the turkey completely thawed before submerging it into hot oil. Water and hot oil is a deadly combination. The presence of water in the fowl may cause the oil to splatter violently and overflow and cause fire.
- Never leave the pot holder, mitt, towel or cloth on the stove top. These items may catch fire.
- Do not overfill the fryer with oil. Give allowance to avoid oil bubbling over or spills.
- Put the turkey slowly into the deep fryer. Never drop it abruptly for the oil may splatter or flow over.
- Do not allow the children or the pets to wander freely in the kitchen or near the deep fryer.
- It is also recommended to cook the turkey outdoors and away from flammable materials. Even when cooking outdoors, never attempt to leave the fryer unattended.
- Never drink while cooking. The alcohol may make you clumsy and slow your reactions in case there is an accident.
- If you are sleepy or tired, it is best to assign the cooking to someone else. Just order food from a restaurant or have the food for your celebration catered.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you have been burned or scalded by a hot liquid.
Christensen & Hymas hopes you have enjoyed your Thanksgiving Day Celebration and sends you holiday wishes for the upcoming holidays. Stay healthy and safe, this can be done by simply following the basic tips on cooking a turkey for your holiday celebrations. Remember, it’s only fun until someone gets hurt!