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Pine Bluff Fire department offers Thanksgiving safety tips

by Special to The Commercial | November 24, 2021 at 2:48 a.m.
A Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey is displayed on a table in Concord, N.H., in this Oct. 22, 2012, file photo. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

The Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services Department issued Thanksgiving turkey-frying safety tips and urges everyone to be safe as cooking is the leading cause of fires and fire-related injuries across the country, according to a news release.

"Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is a time of year when serious fires can occur. Thanksgiving Day tops the charts as one of the peak days for home cooking fires," according to the release.

Deep-fryer fires result in more than $15 million in property damage each year in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Cooking fires are easily preventable.

COOKING SAFETY TIPS:

When deep-frying turkeys, there are a number of things to remember:

• Only use an approved turkey-fryer with four legs and a built-in thermostat so proper oil temperature can be maintained. Make sure the fryer cannot tip over (a major cause of most fires).

• Fry outdoors, away from buildings and other combustible items. Never use a fryer indoors. Keep children and pets away while frying.

• Follow instructions on what size turkey should be used, how it should be cooked and what type of oil to use.

• Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry. Do not stuff the bird, and don't forget to take out the bag of gizzards. Lower the turkey into the hot oil slowly.

• Never leave the fryer unattended. Wear fry gloves; regular oven mittens may not be insulated enough.

• Splashing oil can cause a flash fire and serious burns, so be careful.

OTHER HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS:

• When cooking indoors using a natural gas or propane stove. Make sure there is not a buildup of carbon monoxide in the home. The stove is a common source of carbon monoxide, especially if you are cooking for several hours. Run any vents you have in the kitchen, especially the one over the stove. You should open windows/doors in the kitchen at least once each hour to allow fresh air to circulate into the kitchen.

• Make sure you have a properly-operating smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector in the home.

• In the case of a stove fire, shut off the stove and cover the burning pan with a lid, or use a fire extinguisher. Do not throw water, salt, flour or any other substance on the fire; these substances can cause the fire to flare up. Do not try to move a burning pan outside.

• If there is a fire inside the oven, shut off the oven and leave the door shut. Call 911 and report the fire, and leave the home until firefighters arrive.

• If using candles for decorations, never leave burning candles unattended, and keep combustible items away.

• If you use a fireplace, make sure the damper is open and the chimney flue is clear to allow smoke and gases to escape properly. Discard ashes into a pail of water and let them soak for several hours before discarding. Do not discard ashes in the trash or store them in cardboard boxes or trash bags.

• When retiring for the evening, make a final inspection of your home and ensure that all appliances, especially the stove, are turned off. If you used outside appliances such as a barbecue or turkey-fryer, make sure the gas is off and ashes are put in a pail of water.

• If smoking is permitted in your home, check all furniture for improperly discarded smoking material. Take all trash outside, and keep it away from the house.

ENTERTAINING SAFETY

Tips for entertaining at Thanksgiving if choosing to celebrate with a small group:

• Wash your hands.

• Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils.

• Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.

• Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared.

• Use single use options (disposable silverware and food containers).

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched areas.

Details: www.pineblufffire.com.

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