Serving Up A Safe Thanksgiving: Cooking Safety Tips

Preparations for Thanksgiving feasts are underway all across America. In between the harried trips to the grocery store and setting the table at home, the holiday rush to get everything done cane sometimes ignite cooking accidents.

In fact, one home structure fire was reported every 86 seconds in the U.S. last Thanksgiving, according to the National Fire Protection Association. And nearly 70 percent of house fires involve cooking, says the U.S. Fire Administration.

“Cooking turkeys in a deep fryer is becoming very popular during Thanksgiving, but it poses a significant fire hazard and associated burns,” said Ricardo Castrellon, M.D., medical director of the Burn Center at South Miami Hospital. “Use caution when handling hot oil as it can ignite if it falls into flames. If hot oil spills on you, immediately remove all clothing covering the area and apply water to the skin. Seek emergency care right away for any large blisters that form and for blistering burns to the face, hands, feet, genital area or on top of joints.”

Medical and safety experts alike urge those cooking in the kitchen or outdoor with a turkey fryer to heed safety precautions this Thanksgiving and throughout the busy holiday season. By following these tips, they say, accidents can be avoided, and you can enjoy your time and food with family and friends.

Be Thankful, Be Safe – Kitchen Safety Tips

  1. Check smoke alarm batteries before cooking begins.
  2. Teach children about the dangers of hot stove tops and ovens.
  3. Make sure there is enough ventilation from heat and cooking oils.
  4. Keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove.
  5. Use timers to keep foods cooking in check.
  6. Prepare a few days ahead and get enough rest. The less you have to do on Thanksgiving Day, the more relaxed you’ll be while cooking and less likely to have an accident in the kitchen.

Fire and Burns

In addition, the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) recommends taking these steps to protect yourself and your loved ones:

  • Develop a family fire escape plan and practice it twice a year with your family.
  • Stay in the kitchen while your holiday meal is cooking, especially if food is being fried with oil. The number one cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking, the NFPA says.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns. Two out of five decoration fires began with candles, according to NFPA research.
  • Know where your fire extinguisher is, and how to use it. Check it regularly to make sure that it is charged.

“And remember, if a grease fire starts – use a fire extinguisher to put it out – not water,” Dr. Castrellon adds.

(Infographic by Irina de Souza)
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