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FASNY urges New Yorkers to have a happy, safe Thanksgiving

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Tue, Nov 24th 2015 07:00 am

Some steps to ensure an accident-free holiday

Editorial by the Firemen's Association of the State of New York

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires throughout the U.S., and Thanksgiving sees more such fires than any other day of the year. According to statistics provided by the National Fire Protection Association, there were 1,550 home fires across the country on Thanksgiving in 2013, a full 230 percent above normal. With this in mind, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York offers New Yorkers tips and guidance in order to ensure a safe and happy holiday.

"This is the time of year that we come together and give thanks for our friends, our family, and all that we have," FASNY President Robert McConville said. "To ensure a safe and happy holiday, FASNY asks all New Yorkers to exercise caution when preparing their Thanksgiving feasts. Please follow these simple steps to avoid any unfortunate mishaps or accidents."

The most common factors in home cooking fires and ways to avoid them:

•Unattended cooking - the leading cause of fires in the kitchen: Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short time, turn off the stove. If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly. Remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind yourself you are cooking, as guests, phones, children, pets and other activity can easily distract a cook.

•Objects near the cooking area catching fire: Clothing ignitions lead to approximately 16 percent of home cooking fire deaths. It is important to wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves as loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners or gas flames and catch fire. Keep the cooking area clean and combustible materials away from your stovetop. Built-up grease, as well as oven mitts, food packaging, wooden utensils, towels, curtains and other materials on or near the stove, can catch fire.

•Cooking equipment unintentionally turned on or not turned off: Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don't use the stove or stovetop. Have children turned the stove on? Be vigilant.

•Deep-frying turkeys: Turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in cooking oil at high temperatures pose a significant danger of hot oil being released or spilled during cooking, leading to devastating burns, other injuries and property destruction.

•Hot cooking oil exposed to water or outdoor elements: If rain or snow strikes hot cooking oil in propane-fired turkey fryers designed for outdoor use, the result can be a splattering of the hot oil or a conversion of the precipitation to steam, which can lead to burns. Frozen and defrosting turkeys also create the risk of contact between water and hot cooking oil, which can cause severe scalding or other serious injury. Source: NFPA.

Never fry a frozen turkey. Click here for more information from the NFPA concerning the dangers involved.

If you do have a cooking fire:

•Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

•Call 911 or the local emergency number after you leave.

•For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

•Do not use water to put out a grease fire. Use an appropriate fire extinguisher, or baking soda, salt or a tight lid. Keep the lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. Always keep a box of baking soda near the stove.

Visit the National Fire Protection Agency's website, www.nfpa.org, for more information on fire safety.

Founded in 1872, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York, FASNY, represents the interests of the more than 90,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.

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