How to fireproof your Thanksgiving feast
November 21, 2017
Cooking is already the number-one cause of home fires all year ’round. Now pack two weeks of cooking into one day, fill the house to overflowing with delightfully distracting friends and relatives, get the chef a bit giddy on Riesling, and you have Thanksgiving: the peak day of the year for home cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
America’s fire departments typically respond to more than 1,700 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving. The second worst day is the day before Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas Day and then Christmas Eve. So let’s make sure that your great-aunt’s canned-green-bean casserole is the worst hazard you have to face during this year’s annual feast!
Here are some holiday cooking safety tips that will keep both you and your home intact.
1. Don’t leave the stovetop unattended
Super simple, but so important. The primary cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking, mostly on the stovetop, and frying especially. If you’re cooking, just cook!
2. Remember that oil is fuel
Smoking oil is too hot and could catch fire. To smother oil and grease fires, clamp on a lid — keep one nearby.
3. Keep combustible stuff away from the stove
Potholders, paper, plastic bags, towels … Anything that could catch fire.
4. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove
You’ll be less likely to snag something on them. It’s a good child-safety practice too.
5. Use timers for everything
Even without holiday distractions, it can be hard to keep track of multiple dishes. If something’s in the oven for a long time and you’ll be leaving the kitchen, it’s smart to take the timer with you.
6. Don’t wear loose sleeves while cooking
Not that many chefs actually set themselves on fire this way, but when they do, the outcome can be pretty bad.
7. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand
Do you know how to use one? Most people find it harder than they thought to put out a small fire, as this two-minute video demonstrates. Experts say to remember the P-A-S-S method:
- Pull the pin
- Aim low at the base of the fire from 6 to 8 feet away
- Squeeze the handle
- Sweep from side to side
8. Don’t deep-fry your bird
Once limited to the South, deep-fried turkey has become popular all over. Unfortunately, it’s the most dangerous way to cook your bird. That 350-degree oil can easily burn you and your home.
But if you insist …
Please check out the Popular Science article “How to Deep-fry a Turkey Without Killing Yourself.” (Or burning down your home, we should add.)
Consumer alert: Do you have any Kidde brand fire extinguishers?
On November 2, 2017, the US government issued a recall of nearly 40 million Kidde fire extinguishers that might not work. The recalled models go back decades. So if you have any that were purchased before the recall date, check the model numbers with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Kidde will replace them for free.
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Have you replaced your smoke alarm batteries recently? Speaking of fire safety … The end of daylight savings is the traditional cue to replace those batteries. Yep, even if they still have some life in them. Here’s why, and how.
Filed Under: For Homeowners