Serving up some fire safety tips this Thanksgiving
Guest Editorial by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York
As family and friends gather for Thanksgiving Day, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday. FASNY urges New Yorkers to follow some cooking safety tips, as Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. Data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows Thanksgiving 2016 experienced 1,570 home cooking fires.
“Unfortunately, we see an increase in home fires during this time of year,” FASNY President Steven E. Klein said. “Tragedy can be avoided by following some simple safety tips like never leaving the stove unattended and checking that smoke alarms are in good working order. We encourage residents to install home sprinkler systems wherever possible and hope that everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving.”
One of the more notable safety risks is deep-frying Thanksgiving turkeys. Doing so can be extremely dangerous and can lead to serious burns and property damage. If a turkey fryer is being used, make sure that it is outside and away from any structures or flammable objects. Be sure the turkey is completely thawed before frying.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), home cooking is the leading contributing factor in home fires and fire deaths. New York leads the nation in home fire deaths, with 98 recorded this year. With the increased risk this day brings to families across New York, FASNY wants to make sure families have a safe holiday by asking them to observe life-saving tips.
FASNY and the National Fire Protection Agency Provide the following tips:
•Remain in the kitchen while cooking. Whether you’re frying, grilling, baking or broiling food, it’s always a good idea to supervise cooking directly.
•Most cooking fires involve the stovetop, so keep anything that can catch fire away from it, and turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen, even if it’s for “just a second.” A second is all it takes for a house fire to start.
•If you’re simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind yourself that you’re cooking.
•For homes with children, have the kids remain outside the kitchen area while food is being prepared. Pets should also be kept out of the kitchen while cooking. The safest chef is an undistracted chef!
•Make sure your smoke detectors are functioning by pressing the “test” button. If needed, replace the batteries – and if not functioning after testing, install brand-new smoke alarms.
•Deep-frying turkeys is extremely dangerous, especially when done without care.
If a turkey fryer must be used, follow these tips
•Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot oil across a large area. Use your turkey fryer only outdoors on a sturdy, level surface well away from things that can burn.
•Make sure to have a “3-foot kid- and pet-free zone” around your turkey fryer to protect against burn injuries.
•An overfilled cooking pot will cause oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside. Determine the correct amount of oil needed by first placing the turkey in the pot with water.
•A partially frozen turkey will cause hot oil to splatter. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed before you fry it.
•Turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire. Check the temperature often with a cooking thermometer so the oil won’t overheat.
•The pot, lid, and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries. Use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms when you handle these items.
Founded in 1872, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York represents the interests of the approximately 105,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.
Editor's note: NFP created this tongue-in-cheek headline.