BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and don’t ruin the holiday with an unintended fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are three times as many home cooking fires on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year, and in 2017 there was a 238 percent increase over the daily average in reported home cooking fires on Thanksgiving alone.
“Frying, in general, is one of the most common causes of fires of cooking fires because oil is very sporadic,” said Bryan Fire Department Battalion Chief and Assistant Fire Marshall, Gerald Burnett. “You drop something wet or overflow the oil, it boils out, and that becomes fuel and it spreads.”
When it comes to frying turkeys, make sure you have the proper equipment like closed-toe shoes, an apron, jeans, and gloves according to Captain Nick Hickson, Brazos County Precinct 3 VFD.
The hot oil can be hot enough to burn your skin and cause major injuries even before it’s ready to fry a turkey according to Burnett.
“The biggest thing with turkey fryers is that people need to get them away from the house. Don’t try to do it on your porch or in your garage, definitely, do not try to do it inside. You want to have it away from the house because if it does flash, you can step away from it, put it out, and use your fire extinguisher,” said Burnett.
When you are lowering the turkey into the oil, you must make sure the heat to the fryer is turned off because if the oil does boil over it can ignite on the open flame of the burner.
Finally, it is important that the turkey you are using to deep fry is completely thawed and dry. A wet and frozen turkey can cause serious damage and personal injury when used for frying.
Beyond turkey frying, forgotten food is one of the most commonly seen causes of fires according to Burnett.
“It’s real common for people to have things burn in the oven. Usually, if you have things burn in the oven, all you need to do is turn the heat off, leave the oven closed, leave it closed, let it cool if you can see in there, make sure there are no flames. Usually, it will just cool off on its own.”
There are some easy precautions you can take leading up to Thanksgiving, so you are ready in case of a fire.
First, make sure you have a portable fire extinguisher in your home and nearby where you are doing the cooking. According to the National Fire Protection Association, “portable extinguishers, intended for the home are not designed to fight large or spreading fires.” Check your fire extinguisher ahead of the big day because fire extinguishers require maintenance and service. It’s always good to read the directions and remind yourself how to operate it because you will not have the time to do so if a fire breaks out.
Second, check your smoke alarms and make sure they are working. “The big things that get people are fires that happen when they are sleeping,” said Burnett. If your home does not have smoke alarms, Burnett suggests calling your local fire department, and they can help you with installation or recommend someone.
As always if a fire breaks out in your home and you are in doubt, immediately evacuate your home, and call 9-1-1.