The holidays are a time for family, friends, fun, and food. Unexpected fires are not a popular addition to anyone’s holiday to-do list. Unfortunately, cooking-related fires make up the majority of home fires, with an average of 455 occurring every day.
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas have the highest number of kitchen fires of any day in the year, with four times as many fires occurring on Thanksgiving. Keeping your loved ones safe is the most important aspect of having a happy holiday season. As the holidays approach, the Park City Fire District important cooking fire safety information.
Common Causes of Kitchen Fires
The most common cause of kitchen fires are:
- overheating oil – grease fire
- leaving pots or fryers unattended
- flammable object cluttering the cooking area
- misusing equipment
By practicing cooking safety, you can greatly reduce the risk of kitchen fires. If you are planning to deep fry a turkey, ensure you know the rules.
Frying a Turkey
Frying a turkey is a high-risk cooking method. Turkey fryers have been known to tip over and spill, and overfilling is a common error. Overfilling can lead to the danger of excess oil spilling when the turkey is placed, igniting when it contacts the burner. It is known to be difficult to manage oil temperature in a turkey fryer and overheating poses a risk of igniting the oil. The high heat required for cooking makes the lid, handles, and pot a burn risk.
If you plan to fry your turkey, here are some tips to be safer:
- Select a quality fryer – Look for temperature controls and a stable stand.
- Start with a smaller turkey – they require less oil, less cooking, and are easier to lift and manage.
- Ensure your turkey is completely thawed; moisture in the turkey can cause oil splatter or flare-ups.
- Follow the instruction provided with your fryer to the letter to avoid overfilling;
- Don’t use your fryer inside – or in the garage!
- Don’t use your fryer on decks, near trees or buildings. The fryer must be safely distant from any flammable item or object.
- Don’t fry in snow or rain.
- Pay attention. Put someone on guard to keep adults, children, and pets away from the fryer.
- Use safety gear – goggles and gloves are necessary, and keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher at close hand.
- If a fire occurs, get help from the Park City Fire District. Many injuries occur trying to fight the fire.
Kitchen Cooking Safety
There are many ways to make your cooking experience safer. Following some simple rules can help you reduce the risk of a potentially deadly fire. Keep your cooking area clean of any flammable materials such as dish towels, food packaging, or oven mitts. Never leave food cooking on a burner unattended; turn off the burner if you need to leave, even for a few minutes.
Grease fires need to be smothered and should never be doused with water. Pouring water on burning grease causes flaming oil to spread. For small grease fires, turn off the stove, cover the fire with pot lid and let it sit until it is completely cool. It is possible to kill smaller grease fires with baking soda – always keep plenty on hand and within easy reach. For larger fires, get everyone out of the house at once and call for help.
The Park City Fire District is always here to assist you to keep your family safe.