IMPORTANT REMINDER: be safe while cooking holiday meals

With the Thanksgiving Day holiday quickly approaching Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins and staff want to remind area families to practice caution while cooking their big dinners to feed hungry guests.

“The holidays are always a time for making lasting memories with your loved ones,” Chief Jenkins said, “Don’t let that opportunity be spoiled because of a fire or serious injury. Fire-related emergencies occur all too often because of errors made while cooking and in some cases the impacts can be long lasting.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. The second and third day highest days for such incidents are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The association also reported that in 2016 unattended cooking was the second highest cause of home fire deaths.

To help ensure your Turkey Day remains trouble free, here are a few safety tips:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave a lit candle unattended nor sleep while candles are lit.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
  • If you have a small grease fire on your stovetop and decide to fight it, smother the flames with a lid cover and turn off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. If the grease fire is in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off.
  • Keep a Class ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher handy in the event you have a growing grease fire. NEVER use water to try to extinguish a grease fire. If you ever have doubts about fighting a small fire get out of your house and call 9-1-1.


(Image Courtesy of NFPA)

The NFPA has discouraged the use of turkey fryers citing the extreme danger if they are used improperly

If you choose to deep fry your turkey:

Keep the fryer outdoors, on a level surface and at least 10 feet from all combustible materials; preferably on a hard surface such as a driveway.

  • Use an approved fryer. These have four legs, a built-in thermostat, and are stable. You should be easily able to measure the oil’s temperature while cooking it to prevent a fire.
  • Follow all instructions. Even before turning the fryer on, make sure to read all of the instructions. Be careful when choosing the right size, how to cook the turkey, and what kind of oil to use with it.
  • Thaw and dry out the turkey completely before frying!! 
  • Never leave the turkey fryer unattended! As soon as you turn the fryer on, never leave it alone. Also remember to use insulated gloves instead of oven mitts; the gloves have more insulation. 
  • Be careful of splashing oil! Make sure that the fryer is moved away from all combustible materials, including your property, grass, furnishings, etc.

Staff at Columbia Richland Fire would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving!