Safe Thanksgiving Cooking is Fire Marshall’s Goal
Firemen are twice as busy on Thanksgiving than any normal day. A lot of that is due to kitchen fires, but also the popularity of deep-frying turkeys. State of Michigan Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer talked with Tim Collins on the WBCK Morning Show.
When deep-frying the holiday bird, Sehlmeyer said:
- Always use the portable deep fryer on a flat surface, well away from houses, garages, decks, trees, bushes and other outdoor hazards.
- Make sure your turkey is completely thawed and dry the turkey prior to putting in the fryer. Extra water or placing a frozen turkey in the fryer will cause the cooking oil to bubble and spill over.
- Keep children and pets away from the portable deep fryer.
- Allow at least two (2) feet of space between the liquid propane tank and the portable deep fryer burner.
- Do not overfill the portable deep fryer with cooking oil that can result in the overflow of the cooking oil and a flash fire when immersing the turkey into the cooking oil. Fire Marshall Sehlmeyer recommended using water before you start and measuring just how much liquid (oil) will be needed.
- Be careful with marinades. Cooking oil and water do not mix and water causes the cooking oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard during cooking oil boil over.
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts as the deep fryer lid and handle can become very hot; wear safety goggles to protect eyes from cooking oil splatter.
- If the cooking oil begins to smoke, immediately turn the propane tank to OFF by closing the propane tank valve.
- Have a plan to get the cooked turkey out of the hot oil safely.
- Keep a fire extinguisher (dry-powder) ready at all times. NEVER use water to extinguish a cooking oil or grease fire.
Fire Marshall Sehlmeyer also offered general safety tips for the kitchen:
- Start with a clean stove and oven. Remove food and grease buildup from burners, stovetop, and oven.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove to prevent pot tipping by young children or catching on loose clothing.
- Wear short sleeves or roll sleeves up, so not to catch your clothing on fire during cooking.
- Set timers to keep track of turkeys and other foods that require extended cooking times.
- Turn off the stove if you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time.
- Keep children away from cooking areas; do not hold children while cooking.
- Keep kitchen clutter, potholders, towels, and food wrappers well away from the stove, candles and other open flames.
- Keep a pan lid or cookie sheet nearby; always use an oven mitt.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- Have working smoke alarms in the home and have an escape plan the entire family knows. Have two (2) ways out if a fire occurs.