Can’t you just see it now? The family gathering at the Thanksgiving table and enjoying all that delicious food? Think of it … the stuffing, the pumpkin pie, the yummy mashed and sweet potatoes, the green bean casserole and the star of the feast the turkey!!
But did you know that Thanksgiving is the day, out of all other days in the year, when most residential cooking fires occur? The U.S. Fire Administration reports that the number of residential building fire are more than double (2.3 times more) than the average number of fires in residential buildings on any other days during the year.
According to the U.S Fire Administration the pattern of fires on Thanksgiving Day differ greatly from the national fire profile. It is important to understand how fires on Thanksgiving Day differ from the over all fire profile in the United States. Do you know during what time period that most of the fires occur? Almost 48% of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings happen between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when most people are preparing their scrumptious dinner. This time frame differs from the rest of the year when residential building fires caused by cooking peak during the “normal” dinnertime hours of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Why is there such a huge time difference between cooking on Thanksgiving versus a normal dinner time? It has to do with the amount of food being prepared. We cook way more food for the Thanksgiving feast than we do for our daily dinner meal.
The U.S. Fire Administration further states that cooking was, by far, the leading cause of Thanksgiving Day residential fire at 77% with only 50% of residential building fires on any other day of the year. Add heating at 7% to those statistics as the next leading cause of residential fires on Thanksgiving. Most residential fires were limited to the room of origin and the object of origin, i.e. kitchen and stove/oven. These statistics reflect fires that occurred between 2014 – 2016.
What should you do if a fire starts while you are preparing your Thanksgiving dinner? First turn off the heat source (oven or stove top burner). Second if the fire is on the stove top put a pot lid on top of the pot/pan and NEVER open it to check to see if the fire is out. By opening the lid, if the fire isn’t completely out you will be providing fresh oxygen to the fire causing it to re-ignite. The same goes for the oven. Turn off the heat source, keep the oven door closed until the fire is extinguished. Never, never, NEVER pour water on a grease or oil fire! When in doubt … CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT!
Now let’s talk about turkey fryers. While fried turkey is a delicious alternative to an oven-baked turkey it can be very dangerous to fry a turkey. Most people overfill the oil they add to the pot of the fryer and when they turkey is added that causes the oil to splash over the edges of the pot.
Here are some suggestions from FEMA for the safe use of a turkey fryer:
• Turkey fryers can easily tip over spilling hot oil across a large area. Use your turkey fryer only outdoors on a sturdy, level surface that is well away from anything that can burn. Make sure you have a child and pet free zone of at least 3 feet around your fryer to help prevent against burns.
• An overfilled pot can cause oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside. Determine the correct amount of oil needed by placing the turkey in the pot and filling with water to determine the “fill line”.
• A partially frozen turkey will cause hot oil to splatter. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed and dry before you fry it.
• Turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire. Check the temperature often with a cooking thermometer so the oil won’t overheat.
• The pot, lid and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries. Use long cooking gloves and protect hands and arms when you handle these items.
Need more Thanksgiving safety tips? Contact AZ Safety Solutions at (520) 838-4508 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From all of us here at AZ Safety Solutions we hope you and yours have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
AZ Safety Solutions is firefighter/EMT owned safety education company dedicated to providing the community we serve the very best in safety education. Our instructors have a combined 85(+) years of field emergency response and teaching experience. Article written by Karen Hauca