Toms River Fire Bureau Offers Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn

TOMS RIVER – It’s not only the busiest travel day of the year, but the leading one in cooking equipment fires. There’s a safe way to roast that turkey, and the Toms River Fire Prevention Bureau wants to share those tips to make the holiday enjoyable and safe.

As tempting as it is to peek at the television to watch the parade or catch a game, it’s best to stay with stoves, ovens and ranges in the kitchen. Leaving these unattended can lead to fires.

Children are encouraged to stay out of the kitchen. Steam or splash from the food can lead to serious burns.

Other tips include:

  • Sleeves should be rolled up or short. Save the long-sleeved shirts for when cooking is done.
  • Timers help cooks keep track of when food is done cooking.
  • Cooking areas should be clear of pot holders or food wrappers, which can catch fire easily.
  • When the day is over and guests leave, circle the kitchen and house to ensure all cooking appliances are off, and all candles are blown out.
  • Don’t hesitate to call 911 for oven fires.

Popularity for outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers has skyrocketed over the last few years. But the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discourages their use Bob Yaiser, Public Education Officer for the Bureau of Fire Prevention, wants users to seek safer options.

“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,” Yaiser 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.”

File Photo

Yet their popularity persists. If oven-roasted turkey won’t cut it, consider these safety tips.

Turkeys must be completely thawed in order to deep-fry them. Frying even a half-frozen turkey will result in a fire.

The fryers must be used outdoors and away from buildings and all other flammable material. Do not use them in a garage or wooden deck. Only use them on a flat surface to prevent tipping.

The fryer must be attended at all times, and children and pets should keep their distance to avoid burns. Heavily insulated pot holders and oven mitts and safety googles are needed to touch and be around the fryer.

Follow directions on how much oil to use in the fryer and do not overfill. The oil stays hot for hours after cooking.

The Bureau suggests the holiday is a good time to check household smoke and CO alarms, to ensure proper function. They also encourage families to review their fire escape plan.

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