EPFD gives tips for safe Thanksgiving cooking

EPFD gives tips for safe Thanksgiving cooking
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 9:47am

Thanksgiving is next week and that means many people will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen. We want to make sure safety is a priority.

There's an increased amount of fires during the holidays. There were almost 200 cooking fires last year. Five of them were around Thanksgiving.

The El Paso Fire Department wants to make sure your family was safe this holiday season.

Thanksgiving is about spending time with family and enjoying a feast complete with turkey and the fixings, but a fire can quickly ruin the holiday spirit.

"It seems every year; we have at least one or two house fires on Thanksgiving day. And the main cause is unattended cooking," said Michael Ortiz with the El Paso Fire Department.

The El Paso Fire Department said you should stay in the kitchen when you're cooking on the stovetop and stay home when the turkey is in the oven, checking on it often.

They said make sure the stove area is clear of towels, oven mitts, pot holders and anything that can catch fire. Firefighters said always keep children at least three feet away from a hot stove.

"It’s very easy for them to knock this handle over, spill the contents of the skillet or the pan on themselves and get severe burns," said Ortiz.

The EPFD said it's important to be ready if there's a small grease fire.

"First thing to do is turn off the stove. Turn off the burner. Then using your oven mitt or a pot holder, you grab the lid of the pan and you slide it on top," said Ortiz.

They said never pour water on a grease fire or try to use a small towel to fan it out. If a fire starts in the oven, the fire department said turn off the heat and close the door.

And if you're using a deep fryer to cook your turkey, instead of the oven, be aware it can be very dangerous.

"People think they'll take the turkey from the freezer right into the fryer which of course, the turkey is filled with water. Water and oil don't mix," said Ortiz.

They said instead you should thaw your turkey for 24 to 48 hours before putting it in a fryer.

Also, people make a mistake of overfilling the pot with oil. When you put the turkey inside, the oil can splash and you can get burned or start a fire.

The fire department said always use the fryer outside and away from anyone or anything that could catch fire.

If you know how to use a fire extinguisher, firefighters said spray it at the base of the fire and in a sweeping motion.

If you're still unsuccessful in putting out the fire, get out of the house and call 911.

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