Fire departments throughout the U.S. respond to more structure fires during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays than during any other time of year.
The sources of many holiday fires include heating units, faulty lighting – and cooking.
The Las Cruces Fire Department reminds holiday chefs to use extra caution when preparing their holiday feast. The fire department recommends following these and other safety tips:
- Start with a clean cooking area and keep free from clutter during cooking.
- Keep the cooking area off limits to children.
- Limit the number of people cooking to avoid crowding and accidents.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing and jewelry.
- Never leave active cooking areas unattended. Turn off burners and ovens when leaving the cooking area.
Deep-frying a turkey has its own unique dangers that come with this method of cooking, and safety precautions should be taken:
- Never use a deep fryer in a garage, on a porch or near any other surface that can catch fire. It is recommended to fry at least 10 feet away from all structures including walls and fences. The propane tank should be no less than three feet away from the fryer.
- Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
- Avoid filling the fryer with too much oil. Remember, the turkey will displace oil so consider checking, beforehand, how much oil is needed by placing the turkey in the fryer pot and adding water until it covers the bird. Mark the level, drain the water and dry the fryer before adding oil to the marked level.
- Ensure the fryer is tall enough to retain boiling oil well below the rim.
- Be sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry before placing it into the hot oil.
- Use caution when slowly placing the turkey into and removing it from the fryer.
- Wear gloves and cover bare skin while utilizing a turkey fryer.
- Do not leave the fryer unattended and regularly monitor oil temperature.
- If a fire does start, call 911 immediately.
- Do not try to extinguish the fire with water. Have a Class K rated fire extinguisher handy.
- Allow the oil to completely cool before storing or properly disposing it.
- Follow all safety directions included with the burner and deep fryer being used.