NOVEMBER 27, 2013

Keep Thanksgiving safe

Bookmark and Share

MESA – Thanksgiving is the day when families and friends come together, people share memories and traditions, and then there is the food. From the turkey to the pies, Thanksgiving is all about the food; but that Thanksgiving feast leads to numerous injuries and a lot of property damage every year.

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and related injuries every year according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and grease and cooking-related insurance claims more than double on Thanksgiving according to State Farm.

The long-standing debate over the best way to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey will likely continue for many years. Regardless of the cooking method though, safety should always be the top priority.

Deep frying a turkey is at the top of the popularity list, but deep fryer fires result in more than $15 million in property damage, 60 injuries and five deaths each year according to NFPA. Fire departments around the country respond to more than 1,000 fires involving deep fryers each year. While this may be the preferred cooking method for many, a few safety measures from Rural/Metro ensure everyone will get to enjoy the turkey:

• Never cook your deep fried turkey indoors, on a deck or in a closed area. Cook it outside on a non-combustible and level surface away from any buildings.
• Do not overfill the fryer with oil. Once the turkey is lowered into the fryer it will displace the hot oil and can cause a serious fire and burns.
• Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry. Dropping a partially frozen or wet turkey into the fryer can cause a significant spill and fire
• Do not leave your turkey unattended, ever! Check the oil temperature frequently so it doesn’t overheat.
• Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water or ice to cool or extinguish a grease fire as that will only cause more hot oil to spill out.

Cooking all the appetizers, sides, desserts and maybe your turkey inside makes Thanksgiving the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment according to NFPA. To keep all the food, family and anxious nibblers safe, Rural/Metro recommends you:

• Make sure all your smoke alarms are working. If they haven’t been tested in a while, replace the batteries.
• Never leave the kitchen while you are cooking on the stovetop. This rule applies all year!
• Find an activity for the kids out of the kitchen and away from the hot stove, hot foods and the sharp cooking utensils.
• Keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen.

The food, family and traditions of Thanksgiving are worth the year-long anticipation. Keeping safety as the priority will ensure the happy holiday memories are what they remember most.

The Rural/Metro family of companies in Central Arizona, Rural/Metro Fire Department, Southwest Ambulance and PMT Ambulance, provide 9-1-1 emergency and non-emergency transportation and fire protection services throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties. For more information, visit