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Keep an Eye on the Thanksgiving Turkey
It turns out that the greatest danger of Thanksgiving feasting is not falling asleep on the couch and missing the second half of the football game. In fact, there are twice as many cooking-related house fires on Thanksgiving as on other days. And those fires are more likely to cause death or significant damage, according to the online site Book of Odds.
On Thanksgiving Day, 35 percent of all fires occur in homes, compared to only 23 percent on a normal day; almost all of the Thanksgiving fires start on the stove or in the oven. And those fires cause more deaths and 25 percent more property damage than fires on other days.
Upping the fire danger is the practice of deep frying turkey in cooking oil that can reach 325 degrees Fahrenheit. If you use too much oil, or if you don’t keep a careful eye on the cooker, the oil can boil over or the fryer can tip and set off a major blaze. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, turkey fryer fires caused nearly $8 million in property damage from 1998 to 2007.
In general, exercise caution during your holiday cooking. Don’t leave pots and pans unattended on top of the stove, especially if you have lots of people milling around your kitchen. Keep an eye on the turkey and anything else you roast in the oven; those marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes are highly flammable. And be on the lookout for splatters and spills that can cause smoke and fire both inside and on top of the stove.
If you decide to use a deep fryer, follow these safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Never leave your fryer unattended.
- Set up your fryer in an open area away from your house, garage or other structure.
- Never use your fryer in your garage, porch, breezeway or any other structure.
- Make sure your turkey is completely thawed and dry before you put it into the fryer. Turkey that is wet or partly frozen can cause the oil to spatter.
- Center the pot over the cooker’s burner on the cooker.
- Slowly raise and lower the turkey into and out of the oil, and cover your bare skin when you are adding or removing food.
- Check the temperature of the oil often, and if it starts to smoke, turn off the gas supply immediately.
- If you have a fire, call 911 immediately – don’t try to put out the fire yourself. And never use water to try to extinguish an oil fire.