Ted Allen, the original food and wine expert on “Queer Eye” and the host of “Chopped” on the Food Network recently discussed on National Public Radio that the Thanksgiving meal is the one holiday meal where people who rarely cook are expected to know exactly how to prepare a full meal. So, whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just your family this week, here are a few important safety tips to keep in mind, courtesy of Steve Leonard, Battalion Chief for the Owensboro Fire Department and the Fire Marshal for the City of Owensboro:
- The majority of residential fires that firefighters respond to are cooking fires, which means one thing: stay in the kitchen when you’re cooking. Don’t leave anything cooking on a range top in an empty kitchen. “One of the biggest reasons for cooking-related fires is unattended cooking,” Leonard said. If you have food in the oven, it’s fine to leave the kitchen, but don’t go out to run errands, especially if small kids are around. “It’s important to be there,” Leonard said.
- Planning to deep-fry your turkey? It’ll taste great, but do not use the turkey fryer in the garage or even on a deck close to your house. Keep it away from any structure to minimize the risk of a grease fire that could spread rapidly. Also, follow the directions to prepare the turkey correctly — dunking a frozen bird into a vat of boiling oil can cause major problems. And again, be present and don’t leave the fryer unattended while the turkey is cooking.
- Make sure you have working smoke detectors in your house that can warn you if a fire does break out. If you have family members in town who will be sleeping in your home, take a minute to familiarize them with the layout of the house, especially where the exits are. That knowledge can make all the difference if they have to make a quick exit in the middle of the night.
Leonard said we are entering the season when more residential fires occur, so be aware of potential dangers even as you enjoy Thanksgiving with your family and friends. As he put it, “Make your home inviting, but make it safe.”