How to prevent turkey-related fires

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- From 2007 through 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to 156,600 home cooking fires on average per year. These fires caused an average of 400 deaths, 5,080 injuries and more than $850 million in property damage annually, according to www.nfpa.org.

Adhering to the following safety tips will reduce the risk of fire when cooking holiday meals:
  • Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles items.
  • Wear short or tight fitting sleeves when cooking.
  • Keep pot handles turned inward so they do not hang over the stove.
  • Never throw water on a grease fire; it will only worsen the situation.
  • In the event of a grease fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and smother the flames, then turn off the burner. Use a Class ABC fire extinguisher, Class K fire extinguisher or baking powder to put out grease fires.
  • If there is a fire in the oven, leave the door shut and turn the heat off.
Deep-frying the turkey has quickly grown in popularity and tradition. The primary causes of deep-frying fires and injuries are:
  • Improper use
  • Improperly designed homemade fryers
  • Fryer placed too close to combustibles
  • Plunging the turkey into the fryer too quickly
  • Leaving the fryer unattended
If planning to deep-fry a turkey, follow these fire prevention tips:
  • Never use turkey fryers indoors or on wooden decks. Maintain a safe distance from buildings and anything else which can burn.
  • Never place a frozen or wet turkey into a fryer.
  • Ensure fryers are used on a flat, hard surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never allow children or pets near a fryer during or several hours after use.
  • Do not overfill a fryer.
  • Wear safety goggles to protect eyes from oil splatter.
  • If a fire occurs, clear the area and call 911.
For more information about holiday or cooking safety, contact the Hurlburt Fire Prevention Office at (850) 884-6360.