Don't Become A Holiday Fire Stastic
“The oven’s on fire and our guests are at the front door!”
Don’t let this be the what you hear at your house this holiday season. Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for fire departments that involve home fires and cooking equipment, followed closely by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
The National Fire Protection Association stated in a 2017 article that between 2011 and 2015, fire departments responded to an average of 170,200 home structure fires involving cooking equipment which resulted in 510 deaths and 5,470 injuries. Don’t let your home and family be included in these statistics this holiday season.
Here are some kitchen and cooking tips from the NFPA’s Thanksgiving page:
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot, and kids should stay three feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Considerations for cooking with oil
- Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop.
- Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
- Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.
- Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water on the fire.
- If the fire does not go out or you don’t feel comfortable sliding a lid over the pan, get everyone out of your home. Call the fire department from outside.
Warning on deep frying a turkey
Be especially aware when Deep Frying a turkey, people tend to put too much oil in which causes overflow and spreads to the open flame causing a mass fireball. Also putting in a frozen or very wet bird can cause major problems which they call B.L.E.V.E which stands for Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion.
- Always use fryer outside away from any structure
- Keep oil under 350 degrees, the hotter the oil the more combustible it is
- Don’t overfill the pot with oil
- Thoroughly defrost turkey (24 hours for every 10 pounds the turkey weighs)
- Turn off flame before putting turkey in
- Keep grease fire approved extinguisher on hand
- Lower turkey into pot slowly
If you have a cooking fire
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking 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 cooled.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
If you experience a fire in your home, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West to immediately respond and get your home back to pre-fire condition. We can restore and reconstruct your disaster and make it “Like it never even happened.”