Fire Marshal issues holiday fire safety reminders

Published 5:04 pm Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during Thanksgiving and, since the whole family likes to get involved in holiday preparations, cooking safety becomes even more important during this happy time of year.

Steve Holmes, Steve Holmes, public information officer, State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO), said that the SFMO is offering a few fire safety recommendations for the holiday season.

The first rule of safety is to stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on “what’s cooking.”

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“Stay in the home when you are cooking your turkey and check on it frequently,” Holmes said. “Keep children at least three feet away from the stove and make sure they stay away from hot foods and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.”

Holmes said that the SFMO also cautions those who man the kitchen to keep the floor clear to reduce the danger of tripping and always keep knives out of the reach of children.

“Be sure electric cords from counter top cooking accessories are not dangling within easy reach of children,” he said. “Always keep matches and utility lighter out of the reach of children and never leave children along in a room with a lit candle.”

Smoke alarms are there for a purpose. Make sure they are working, he said.

The SFMO and the National Fire Prevention Association said there are dangers associated with the use of outdoor gas fueled turkey fryers that cook the turkey in hot oil.

“The use of turkey fryers can lead to devastation burns, other injuries and well as the destruction of property,” Holmes said. “Spilled or splashed hot oil can cause serious injury and the large amount of oil involved in deep frying turkeys increases the danger, speed and severity of burns.”

Cooking oil is combustible and, if heated above the required temperature of 350 degrees F, vapors can ignite.

“Since propane-fired turkey fryers must be used outdoors, weather can become a factor,” Holmes said.

“Rain could splatter the hot cooking oil or turn quickly to steam leading to more burns or destruction.”

Holmes said that turkeys must be completely thawed before being placed in the fryer, as a partially thawed turkey will also splatter the oil resulting in burns or property damage.

“The fryers use a lot of oil; about five gallons, so extreme caution must be taken when placing and removing the turkey from the fryer to be sure it isn’t dropped into the fryer causing more spillage and splatter resulting in burns and fires,” Holmes said. The men and women of your Alabama State fire Marshal’s Office remind you to think fire safety, prevent fires and save lives insuring you and your family a happy Thanksgiving.”