You do not have to be Clark Griswold to know that Thanksgiving can be a time of family drama. First, you have all the personalities all under one roof. While the men fight in the living room over who is going to win the big game, the women are usually gossiping in the next room. Grandma is complaining about her arthritis pain, while Mom makes jabs how she does not like your sister’s new boyfriend. All of this while the poor host is trying to cook up a feast large enough to feed a small country, but look and taste good enough to be worthy of a Martha Stewart magazine cover. Talk about stress! For some families, Thanksgiving is more about “squabble, squabble, squabble”, than “gobble, gobble, gobble.” Unfortunately, for some hosts, family fires may not be the only fires they witness this Thanksgiving.
Many Americans are blissfully unaware that Thanksgiving Day is the leading day of the year for home fires that involve cooking equipment. It is estimated that close to 2,000 fires are reported to fire departments across the country on Thanksgiving Day. To make sure that your turkey day does not go up in smoke—follow these safety tips:
- Do not leave the kitchen! One of the biggest causes of Thanksgiving Day fires is unattended cooking. This means if you are in charge of the bird, do not leave to run a turkey-trot and leave your bird unattended! If you are tempted to leave the kitchen with a pot simmering on the stove, delegate someone else to keep watch.
- Limit the number of people in the kitchen! Most people are familiar with the saying “too many cooks spoil the soup.” While everyone may want to lend a helping hand, it is important that the kitchen does not become a three-ring circus. Children, pets and toys around steaming kettles, simmering pots, and a hot oven can quickly turn your holiday meal into a trip the emergency department.
- Roast don’t fry the bird! While a deep fried turkey may take less time to cook than an oven roasted bird, frying poses the great risk of a fire. If you MUST fry the bird….do so with the planning and precision of an Army general going into battle. This means:
- Make sure that this is not your first rodeo. Thanksgiving Day is really not the best time to experiment with a new cooking gadget like a large deep fat fryer.
- Place the fryer outside away from the home and any other structures, like a wooden deck or garage.
- Keep anything flammable, including gloves, towels, oven mitts, long shirt sleeves and dangly jewelry away from the fryer.
- Do not allow children or pets anywhere near the fryer.
- Have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of a fire.
- Never leave the fryer unattended.
- Call for help! If a fire does break out, do not try to put it out yourself. Rather, the first thing you should do is call for help! According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 50% of non-fatal cooking fire injuries occurred when the victim tried to put out the fire themselves.
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