Let’s Talk About Turkey – And Not Catching Your House on Fire This Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving from the team at Firestorm!
2016 is nearing its end and 2017 is a few weeks away. But, before we jump into the New Year, we have to survive the holidays. First up: Thanksgiving. Whether your traditions include a large dinner, five different kinds of stuffing or a day filled with watching football, one tradition should be universal: not burning down the house.
Thanksgiving is one of the biggest cooking days of the year. As many people prepare for the holiday with family and friends, we’d like to remind everyone to be careful in the kitchen. Cooking fires are the leading cause of house fires across the nation. Never leave the kitchen while cooking, not even for “just a minute.”
According to data from the USFA (United States Fire Administration), an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss each year. The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is cooking. In addition, these fires occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from noon to 4 p.m. And unfortunately, smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings. (Source: DHLS)
Before you dive in to make the family’s favorite cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, here are a few precautionary Thanksgiving Safety tips provided by the USFA:
- Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are 10 years old or older.
- Keep a close watch on your cooking. You should never leave cooking food unattended.
- Keep oven food packaging and other combustibles away from burners and heat sources.
- Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly.
- Don’t wear loose sleeves while working over hot stove burners – they can melt, ignite or catch on handles of pots and pans spilling hot oil and other liquids.
- Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three-feet around the stove and areas where hot foods or drinks are prepared or carried.
- Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
Let’s Talk About Turkey:
The National Turkey Federation estimates that 88 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving – this is equivalent to 46 million turkeys consumed. Regardless of the method in which a turkey is made (braised, grilled, smoked or deep fried), make sure safety precautions are in place. If you are deep frying this year, here are a few suggestions from the USFA to keep in mind:
- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
- Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
- Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
- To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
- The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.
Video of the dangers of frying a turkey (via Underwriters Laboratories):
If you have decided to stay clear of the deep fryer this year, and instead are grilling your turkey, make sure you have enough charcoal on hand to maintain a temperature of 350 to 400 degrees for several hours. Place the turkey on a roasting pan with some liquid and aromatics, which will help flavor the turkey and keep the fat from dripping onto the hot coals.
Aside from the way in which you prepare your thanksgiving feast this year, Firestorm wishes you a happy and safe holiday!