Submitted by City of McKinney Fire Department
Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment. Many injuries occur as a result of cooking fires, spills of hot liquid, or exposure to steam. The McKinney Fire Department wants your family to celebrate safely:
- Always stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop.
- Stay in the home when cooking a turkey or other items in the oven. Check on baking or roasting items frequently.
- Keep children and pets away from the stove. Enforce a three foot “safe” zone.
- Keep the floor clear and clean to avoid slipping or tripping over children, pets, toys, purses, shopping bags, etc.
- An adult must always be in a room with lit candles. Keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children.
- Be sure that electric cords from appliances are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child, or where someone could accidentally catch the cord when passing.
- Make sure smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
In addition to the traditional rituals of roast turkey and pumpkin pie, many residents deep fry the Thanksgiving turkey. While this method speeds the cooking process and produces a moist, tasty centerpiece for your feast, turkey fryers are considered extremely dangerous by many safety experts, including Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and most fire departments. If you opt to fry your turkey, please observe the following:
- Only use your turkey fryer outdoors, a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
- Never use a turkey fryer in your garage, or on a wooden deck or other flammable surface.
- Make sure the fryer stands on a flat surface, to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer, even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot will remain dangerously hot for 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. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- Wear safe clothing. No loose sleeves, aprons, and other items that may encounter flames or heat sources.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed, and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire and possibly an explosion.
- The National Turkey Federation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.
“The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. Since the majority of home fires are cooking related, safety in the kitchen should be a priority every day, not just during the holidays. Following a few simple rules can increase your family’s safety,” stated McKinney Fire Department Public Information Officer Stacie Durham.
The McKinney Fire Department is your community resource for many types of fire and life safety information, classes, and community outreach. If you would like to schedule a home fire safety inspection, or if you have questions relating to fire and life safety, call 972-547-2850 or email us.