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FASNY offers lifesaving - and turkey-saving - tips for busiest day of the year for home fires


Tue, Nov 14th 2023 05:30 pm

Submitted by the Firefighters Association of the State of New York

As New Yorkers get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones, the Firefighters Association of the State of New York urges all to have a safe and happy holiday.

New York currently leads the nation in home fire deaths, with a total of 123 fatalities so far this year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. FASNY wants to remind all New Yorkers of certain situations to be cautious of, and some essential safety tips to ensure your holiday is memorable for the right reasons.

According to the NFPA, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires with more than three times the daily average for such incidents. Unattended cooking is by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths, and with family gathering in one home for the shared holiday, it can create extra distraction from the kitchen.

“We want all New Yorkers to enjoy their Thanksgiving with loved ones in the safety and comfort of their homes,” FASNY President Edward Tase Jr. said. “FASNY asks that all New Yorkers follow the steps and advice to ensure all family, friends, and Thanksgiving turkeys are kept safe this holiday season.”

Although most people can agree a delicious turkey should be present at a Thanksgiving meal, deep-frying a frozen turkey is one of the most dangerous dishes to attempt. 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.

Click here for more information from the National Fire Protection Association concerning the dangers involved.

Below are the most common factors in home cooking fires and ways to avoid them, courtesy of NFPA:

√ Unattended cooking – the leading cause of fires in the kitchen: Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking 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 that you are cooking, as guests, phones, children, pets and other activities can easily distract a cook.

√ Objects near the cooking catching fire: Clothing ignitions are common in 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. Check the stove regularly during holidays with many others in the house to ensure kids have not turned the stove on.

√ 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.

Here are some of FASNY’s tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this time of year.

In the case of a 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.

If a grease fire does occur, do not use water to put it out. 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.

About FASNY 

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

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