BOONE — Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Boone Fire Department reminds the public that cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire-related injuries in the United States.
According to Boone Fire, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.
“No matter how many years you’ve been cooking or how many Thanksgiving feasts you’ve served, you still need to make safety your main ingredient,” the fire department stated.
Boone Fire recommends following these prevention tips:
• Ensure the cooking area is safe. Move things that can burn away from the stove. Turn pot handles toward the back so that they can’t be bumped.
• Keep kids away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee can cause serious burns. Keep children at least three feet away from the stove.
• Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop to keep an eye on the food.
• Stay in the home and use a timer when roasting a turkey or baking pies.
• Be prepared. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in the case a pan fire needs to be smothered.
• Stay awake and alert while cooking. If there’s smoke or the grease starts to boil in the pan, turn the burner off.
• Prevent burns. Wear short sleeves when cooking, or roll them up. Don’t lean over the burner. Use potholders and oven mitts to handle hot cookware.
• Keep the floor clear so the possibility of tripping over kids, toys and other items is minimized.
• Make sure smoke alarms are working. Now is the time of year to change the batteries. Test them by pushing the test button.
• Use extra caution when deep-frying a turkey.
Deep-frying turkeys has become popular in recent years. This cooking method has a lot of risks, according to Boone Fire. Turkey fryers get hot all over, so they need to be handled with great care and only by an adult. They can tip over and can spill hot cooking oil.
Partially frozen turkeys placed into hot fryers will cause the oil to splatter. If fryers are overfilled, the hot oil can spill over the side when the turkey is added. Even a small amount of oil on a hot burner can start a fire.
When deep-frying a turkey, place the fryer outside on a flat surface that can’t burn, such as cement. Place the fryer several feet from anything that can catch fire. Don’t let children or pets get anywhere near it. An adult should watch the fryer while it cooks. Use a fryer with thermostat controls. Without these controls, the oil can heat to the point of catching fire. Thaw the turkey completely before cooking it so that ice crystals won’t splatter the hot oil. Use potholders and oven mitts when handling the turkey.
For questions and other safety tips contact Boone Fire Department at (828) 268-6180, or visit the National Fire Protection Association at www.nfpa.org.