A recipe for Thanksgiving cooking safety
You’ve been thinking about turkey for weeks. But did you know that Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires and home fire injuries involving cooking equipment?
“People think that it can’t happen to them,” says Nina Johnson, Disaster Program Specialist at the American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley. “But unfortunately it can.”
Here’s Nina’s recipe for Thanksgiving cooking safety:
- Smoke alarms
- Fire Extinguisher
- Cleaning supplies
- Close-fitting clothing
- Test your smoke alarms: Smoke alarms generally fail because the batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead. Press the test button on each smoke alarm in your home. Functioning alarms should produce a loud siren. Smoke alarms that produce weak or nonexistent sirens need new batteries.
- Check your fire extinguisher: The National Fire Protection Agency recommends inspecting portable fire extinguishers monthly and getting professional maintenance once a year. Refer to the label or user manual of your extinguisher for the manufacturer’s maintenance suggestions.
- Clean your oven and cooktop: Dirty cooking surfaces can lead to a fire. Be sure to open windows and turn on the exhaust fan when using an oven’s self-cleaning feature. And don’t forget to remove any ash once the oven is cool. If you are cleaning your oven by hand, make sure to wipe down the oven and cooktop after using cleaning supplies.
- Wear close-fitting clothing: Keep your scarves, ties, and other loose-fitted clothing in the bedroom until you have finished cooking. Nina recommends wearing a close-fitted short-sleeve shirt in the kitchen.
- Stay in the house while the oven is on: It takes time to cook a juicy bird. Make sure that there is at least one adult in the house while the oven is on.
- Stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop: Unattended cooking accounted for 48% of injuries in a study by the National Fire Protection Agency. Be sure to stay in the kitchen when cooking on a range or cooktop.
- Keep children away from the oven: Make sure to keep kids away from the oven and hot cooking surfaces. Serve appetizers or snacks in another room to keep children out of the kitchen.
- Stay calm if a fire starts: Don’t try to throw a burning pan in the sink or run through the house to throw it outside. Cover the pan with a metal lid. If the fire continues, get everyone out of the house and call 911.
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