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Increase in cooking-related fires expected during Thanksgiving Holiday

With many households across our area getting ready to fire up their stoves and turkey fryers for Thanksgiving Day, Columbia Richland firefighters want to stress the importance of USING CAUTION while you prepare your holiday feast.

“Each year Thanksgiving Day is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment,” said Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “Furthermore the damages that can be produced when a turkey is deep-fried carelessly or incorrectly can be significant and life-changing. The simple way to keep that from happening is to remain alert and follow all safety guidelines while cooking.”

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that in 2017 fire departments across the U.S. responded to an estimated 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.

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 stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
  • 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.

Finally…USE EXTREME CAUTION IF YOU PLAN TO DEEP FRY YOUR TURKEY

The NFPA has discouraged the use of turkey fryers citing the extreme danger if they’re 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.