Toms River Fire Bureau Offers Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn

TOMS RIVER – The second to last Thursday of November isn’t only a day turkeys dread. It’s one of the busiest for fire departments too. So let these men and women enjoy Thanksgiving in their own homes this year by following these simple yet effective safety tips.

The Toms River Fire Prevention Bureau recommends:

  • Do not leave stoves, ovens, and ranges unattended—stay in the kitchen so you can keep your eyes on the food.
  • Make sure to keep children away from the stove as the steam or splash from the food on the stove can cause serious burns.
  • Roll up your sleeves or wear short sleeves while cooking
  • Set timers to keep track of cook times.
  • Keep pot holders and food wrappers away from heat sources while cooking.
  • After your guests leave, be sure all cooking appliances are off, and all candles are blown out.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately if an oven fire occurs.

Outdoor gas-fuel fryers are generally frowned upon. However, everyone knows that’s not going to stop some people from attempting to fry their turkey this Thanksgiving. So, Kevin Esposito, Chief Inspector of the Township’s Fire Prevention Bureau, urges residents who will be using turkey fryers to know how dangerous they are.

“Deep frying a turkey in hot oil over 350 degrees is as flammable as gasoline; accounting for a high number of house and garage fires reported each year.  The units can also easily tip over, spilling scalding oil and leading to fires, burns and other injuries,” Esposito said. “If you prefer to use a turkey fryer, consider switching to the newer units available, electric or infrared models that are much safer than the turkey fryers that use oil.”

Those who fry turkeys should remember:

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
  • Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed.

Before starting any of this, check all household smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly. Residents are encouraged to review their escape plans just in case these tips are ignored.

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