Toms River Fire Bureau Offers Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn

  TOMS RIVER – This season of giving, the Toms River Fire Prevention Bureau is offering words of advice to help keep your family safe this holiday.

  Thanksgiving is the peak day for home fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving. In 2017, US fire departments responded to an estimated 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.

  Now just days away from Thanksgiving, fire officials remind the public to follow these safety guidelines to ensure a safe and happy holiday:

  • Do not leave stoves, ovens, and ranges unattended
  • 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, and of course,
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately if an oven fire occurs

  While it may seem like a new, fun way to enjoy the traditional dish, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says “no” to outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers. If you plan on using a turkey fryer this year, fire officials want you to know the risks you’re tasking and consider using the safer, oil-less fryers.

  Kevin Esposito, Chief Inspector of the Township’s Fire Prevention Bureau, stated: “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…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.”

  In addition, the Bureau of Fire Prevention offers the following tips:

  • 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

  Finally, holiday preparations should always include a check on all household smoke and CO alarms to make sure that they are working properly. Families are also encouraged to review the family escape plan.

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