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Fire safety urged this weekend

Official: Frying a turkey can be tricky

POSTED: November 21, 2012 12:32 a.m.

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and feasting. But it’s also a time to exercise caution while cooking and celebrating.

According to Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers, kitchen fires are a common occurrence during the holiday season.

“That’s why safety tips about clean ovens and properly maintained equipment and keeping children away from the stove and oven are so important,” Shivers said.

“And always have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed in every level of your home and have a fire extinguisher available not more than 10 feet from your stove and on the exit side of the room.”

Shivers said before cooking for Thanksgiving, make sure all appliances have been thoroughly cleaned.

He also said to keep children who are not helping with food preparation away from the stove and to make sure all pot handles are turned inward so they’re out of reach and won’t get snagged on clothing.

For those frying a Thanksgiving turkey, Shivers had other advice.

He cautioned to never start with a frozen turkey, always use the fryer outdoors in a non-flammable environment and do a trial run with water.

Using a 2-liter soda bottle or gallon milk jug, pour a measured amount of water over the turkey in the fryer.

Measure exactly how much water is needed to cover the turkey without flowing over the fryer, Shivers said. Then, take the turkey out, dump the water and start fresh with a precise measurement of oil.

“What so often happens is people have overestimated the amount of oil that they need,” he said. “They’ll place the turkey in and it’s too much oil, so when the turkey goes in … the oil rises up … and over the top.

“It’s already hot, so it spills onto the flame, it spills onto the person and there’s immediately a significant flash fire with high likelihood of extreme burn injuries.”

Using water first, Shivers said, eliminates “the chance of putting in too much oil.”

If a fire does start and cannot be immediately put out with an extinguisher, evacuate the home and call 911.

“If you can’t get it under control within the first few seconds, get out of the home and have us respond immediately,” said Shivers, adding that cooking fires are “a challenge every fire department in the country faces throughout the holiday season.”



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