As we all prepare to cook that turkey; fill the house with aromas of sweet potatoes, pies, and cookies; the Excelsior Springs Fire Department offers the following safety tips for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires on Thanksgiving Day.

Cooking fires nearly triple on Thanksgiving Day, occurring more than three times as often than on another day.

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries.

Thanksgiving Day home fires cause more property damage and claim more lives than home fires on other days.

Eighty percent of Americans don’t realize that home fires are the single most common disaster across the nation.

The number of home fires the American Red Cross has responded to has risen 10% since 2000.

Every two and a half hours someone is killed in a home fire. In a typical year, 20,000 people are injured in home fires.

Having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.

To stay prepared, the ESFD encourages the community to keep certain things in mind, including:

Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

If you are simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you the stove or oven is on.

Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

Keep kids away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of three feet around the stove.

Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top and oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.

If you must use a turkey fryer, make sure it is outdoors and in an open area away from all walls, fences or other structures that could catch on fire and away from moisture that can cause serious burns from steam or splattering hot oil. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen and use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

After your Thanksgiving guests leave, ask a family member to perform a home safety check to ensure that all candles and smoking materials are extinguished.

The latest trend in preparing a turkey is deep frying. However, if you don’t take precautions, you may end up with an injury or fire. The Excelsior Springs Fire Department offers the following safety tips for a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Just follow these simple safety rules:

Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.

Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.

Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don’t watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.

Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near it. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.

To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.

If possible, use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching the pot or lid handles. Use safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix, and water causes oil to spill over, posing a fire or explosion hazard.

The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator.

Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use the fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.

For more information about frying your turkey safely or other helpful fire safety tips, call 816-630-3000.

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