Turkey? Check! Sweet potatoes? Check! Fire extinguisher? No? Before organizing your Thanksgiving Day dinner menu, don’t forget to incorporate safety into your plans. Whether preparing a traditional savory feast for a large guest list or simply using the stove or oven to reheat leftovers, taking the necessary precautions to prevent accidents is critical.
According to the National Fire Protection Association(NFPA), Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires, with almost three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day. To avoid any accidents during your Thanksgiving Day preparation, we have compiled some helpful Thanksgiving safety tips to keep in mind.
Common Causes of Kitchen Fires
Due to an increased likelihood of a fire occurring on Thanksgiving, it is crucial to be aware of the common causes of kitchen fires:
- High cooking temperatures. Cooking on high heat can quickly lead to fires, so do not attempt to use a higher heat setting to speed up the process.
- Cooking while distracted. It can be easy to get caught up in conversation with family and friends or become engrossed in a TV show or movie while cooking on Thanksgiving. However, focusing on the task at hand is vital, as distractions can lead to accidents and injuries.
- Using excess oil or butter. When prepping for Thanksgiving, ensure you use the appropriate amount of fat and butter to prevent grease fires. Overfilling pans with these ingredients can lead to dangerous flare-ups, so only add as much or as little as needed to your recipe.
- Appliance malfunctions. While most appliances, such as turkey fryers, particularly newer models, are safe and reliable, it is still important to regularly check for any underlying issues that could put your home at risk.
Thanksgiving Safety: Fire Prevention Tips
Since we know what can spark a house fire, always exercise caution in the kitchen. The list below reveals a few ways you can keep your turkey preparation and celebration fire-free:
- Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food, and never leave it unattended. Turn off the stove if you need to step away from the kitchen for a few minutes.
- Do not use the stove if you are drowsy or have consumed alcohol. Being impaired can affect your actions, which may lead to mishaps.
- Keep a timer close by to help monitor your food and prevent overcooking or undercooking. Food poisoning can be a result of eating raw or undercooked turkey.
- When cooking, keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Put it out by sliding the lid over the pan and then turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. Remember never to throw water onto a grease fire!
- Avoid wearing loose clothing when cooking, as they can easily catch fire if they come in contact with an open flame. If your hair is long, tie it back, so it does not hang over your face or get snarled in a pot handle.
- If you have small children or pets, keep them at least three feet away from the stove to prevent burns. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee can cause severe burns.
- Use battery-operated candles instead of real candles.
- Ensure your smoke alarms and detectors are in working order. Consider installing additional units to alert you of a kitchen fire in an emergency.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy and use it to extinguish small grease fires. Be sure to learn how to operate it beforehand.
Thanksgiving Food Cooking Safety Tips
Of course, we would be remiss not to include some food tips for the Thanksgiving Day chef in your home! Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned cook, be sure to keep the following in mind:
- Before you begin prepping, wash your hands. Always wash your hands when handling raw poultry. Additionally, do not forget that water temperature matters when washing dishes, so ensure it is at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When it is time to cook, avoid cross-contamination at all costs. This means not letting raw meat, poultry, or seafood come into contact with other foods. Always use separate cutting boards for each type of food, and remember that thawing frozen meat in the microwave is generally a bad idea, as this can lead to bacterial growth.
- Ensure that your food reaches a safe internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to determine whether poultry has reached the proper temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be easy to overcook turkey or undercook it altogether if you’re not careful. Please remember that the color of cooked poultry can be deceiving; it does not always indicate its safety, so don’t rely on appearance alone.
- If you wish to use raw meat, poultry, or shellfish as stuffing, it may be best to precook the ingredients before to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Bacteria can be present in food that is raw or undercooked. The stuffing should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, as indicated by a food thermometer.
- When storing leftovers, consider using airtight containers to prevent air or bacteria from reaching the food. You can even transfer leftover food to the refrigerator in its original packaging. Be sure to refrigerate the leftovers within two hours of serving to help prevent bacterial growth.
We want to ensure you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, so careful attention to potential kitchen fire hazards and food safety can ensure your meal is memorable in all the right ways!
For Professional Fire Damage Restoration, Contact PuroClean
Though we want our Thanksgiving Day to go smoothly, please be mindful that things may arise that can potentially foil our plans, such as fire. Unfortunately, disasters can still occur when you least expect them. If you experience a fire, you’ll need fire damage cleanup services urgently. For professional smoke remediation and fire damage repair, contact your local PuroClean office.