HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. So, we went to the Hattiesburg Fire Department for a quick reminder on safety tips for before getting in the kitchen.
"Everything we want to do in life, we want to take safety and make it a priority," said Hattiesburg Fire Marshal Stephen Mooney. "So in the kitchen, when you've got cooking, you need a clear area."
Thanksgiving may mean family and friends in the kitchen, which could lead to a frenzy or even fire. According to The National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
Remember to clean and clear the area around the stove before you start cooking and always stand by your pan. Don't let guests, pets or other cooking obligations distract you.
"Always turn your handles away from the front," said Mooney.
While experts stress clearing the area around the stove, you want to have lids to those pans handy if something did fire up.
"You want to use the shield method when you hold it, place it over the pan, turn the heat off, let it cool," Mooney said.
While The National Fire Protection Association does not recommend you deep fry a turkey, there's no denying many will in South Mississippi. Mooney said your turkey must be thawed and dry before placing it in the oil. Also, you want to make sure you do this outside and away from your property.
Here are five dangers of deep frying a turkey, from the U.S. Fire Administration:
- Turkey Fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
- An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot.
- Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
- Without temperature controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
- The sides of a cook pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot.
If you do have a smoky situation on your hands, Mooney said to call 911 immediately. When in doubt, get everyone outside. The U.S. Fire Administration urges residents to never go back inside a burning building.