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Thanksgiving & fire safety

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 1:21 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The U.S. Fire Administration has found house fires are 2.3 times more likely to occur on Thanksgiving Day as compared to any other day of the year. Of those fires, 74 percent are related to cooking.

Captain Richard Little of the Watertown Fire Department appeared on 7 News at Noon on Monday. Watch his interview above.

He talked about the following fire safety tips:

1. Make sure you have working smoke detectors. Test your smoke detector to ensure its proper function. Ensure it has working batteries installed and/or not beyond its 10-year life span printed on the back. Just because it is hard wired or has a 10-year battery does not ensure it will function as intended. Detectors do go bad and should be replaced when an issue arises. You do not want to find the faulty detector during an actual emergency.

2. Have a fire extinguisher on hand. A fire extinguisher is crucial for a rapid response during an emergency. Ensure it is full, the right type, and utilize the PASS method.

3. Clean your cooking appliances. Clean in, under, and around your burners, stovetop and oven, or other cooking appliances to ensure there is no food or grease buildup. Clean up any lint, plastic toys or other items under the oven that may cause ignition.

4. Do not leave cooking unattended. The primary cause of cooking fires in the kitchen is unattended stovetops and ovens. Do not become distracted by guests or cooking several dishes at once.

5. Ensure a safe cooking workspace. Keep children away from the stove. Ensure there are no combustibles left on, stored in and or around a cooking appliance that could accidentally ignite or fall onto the stove i.e., wooden & plastic utensils, Dish clothes/towels, potholders, oven mitts, boxes of food, grocery bags, etc.

6. If you are deep frying a turkey, be aware of its specific hazards. Turkey fryers are extremely dangerous. There is a very high risk of the oil overflowing or spilling. The fryer could tip over and/or overheat. The sides, lids, and handles all become extremely hot. All these hazards can lead to significant burns, fires, or other very serious injuries.

a. Read and follow manufacturers guidelines.

b. Keep a safe distance away from any structures and overhangs (minimum of 10′). Do not use this in a house, garage, on a porch or under a roof or overhang of any kind.

c. Always keep children and pets away. Ensure leashes cannot reach or become entangled.

d. Never leave the fryer unattended at any time.

e. Set it up on a solid flat surface.

f. Use the correct amount of oil. The turkey will take up space when it is placed in the oil.

g. Ensure your turkey is completely thawed and dry to help prevent the oil from bubbling uncontrollably and overflowing.

h. Remember after cooking the oil will remain dangerously hot for hours.

7. Know what to do in case of emergency. Call 911. Never put water on a grease fire. For a fire in the oven turn the oven off and leave the door closed. Cover burning pots/pans with lids or cookie sheets. Let them all cool in place. Utilize an extinguisher if needed.

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