While planning your Thanksgiving menu with staples like turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, Alabama Department of Insurance State Fire Marshal Scott Pilgreen says it’s important to keep cooking safety in mind.
Thanksgiving is the peak day of the year for home cooking fires, followed by the night before Thanksgiving, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, fire departments across the country responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the USFA reports.
Here are some tips for safe cooking.
Before cooking, test your smoke alarm by pressing the “test” button located on the device.
Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn off the stove if you have to leave the room, even if it’s for a short period of time.
Keep kids at least three feet away from hot stoves and ovens.
Turn pot handles inward or toward the back of the stove so they can’t be accidentally bumped, leading to a spill.
Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Slide the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
Keep flammable items like oven mitts, plastic or wooden utensils and food wrappers away from stoves.
Check all ovens, stove eyes and fryers to ensure they’re turned off once you’re done cooking.
Turkey fryer safety
Make sure the turkey fryer is on a level surface, where it’s less likely to tip over, and don’t try to move it once it’s in use.
Fully thaw and dry a turkey before attempting to fry it. Even the smallest amount of ice on a turkey can cause the oil to boil over.
Frying should always be done outside, away from buildings and trees. But do not try to fry a turkey in the rain.
Children should never be near a turkey fryer.
Never overfill the pot with cooking oil. Too much cooking oil can lead to a spill over, igniting a fire. Keep cooking temperatures at 350 degrees or below.
Turn off the flame before lowering the turkey into the oil. After turning off the flame, the turkey should be lowered slowly into the oil.
Keep an extinguisher approved for grease fires nearby when frying.
After frying, let the oil cool completely.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.