Officials stress cooking safety ahead of holidays

Officials stress cooking safety ahead of holidays
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 6:50 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Just head of the holidays, firefighters are reminding you to cook with caution.

Thanksgiving is one of the top days for home cooking fires in the country, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. From 2017-2019 an estimated average of 2,300 home fires were reported across the country on Thanksgiving Day.

More than 70 percent of those fires were because of cooking.

To stay safe, one of the first things officials say is to never leave food unattended. They recommend turning off the stove or oven if you have to leave the kitchen.

Next, move items away from the stove that could possibly burn. For example, dish rags or sleeves could pose a danger.

Also, keep things that could be easy for children to grab like knives or panhandles away from the edge of a counter.

And if you see smoke, turn off the stove right away. If a fire starts, put a lid or a cookie sheet over the pan to put out the fire. It’s also useful to have a fire extinguisher nearby.

When it comes to cooking turkey, the Tucson Fire Department has many different tips.

First, they say to follow the instructions, even if it’s the same meal you always cook.

Next, they want you to slow down. There’s a lot going on with family and it could be loud and easy to forget about what you’re doing.

And if you plan to fry your turkey, make sure you know the risks and do it safely.

“If we put too much grease in the actual pan and you submerge the bird and you get an overflow and it hits the flame below that’s where you get the explosion,” Deputy Chief of the Tucson Fire Department Barrett Baker said. “So make sure you use the right amount of cooking oil. Secondly, the turkey has to be thawed, when you get a frozen turkey and you heat that up into that oil that’s where you see that violent explosion.”

Baker added that if you do fry your turkey, do it outside and on level ground and be ready to call 911 just in case things catch on fire.