Thanksgiving is right around the corner. More cooking fires will occur on this day than any other day of the year; many as a result of turkey frying, which has grown in popularity in recent years. Keeping your home and your family safe is your number one priority. Accidents and natural disasters can happen at any time and there is little that can be done to protect against them. Fire, a major danger and the cause of billions of dollars of damage each year, is something that you can guard against.
Below are six tips you can do to help reduce the risk of fire of fire this Thanksgiving as well as throughout the fall and winter.
Propane-fired turkey fryers must be used outdoors. Fryers could tip over or collapse causing the hot oil to spill so make sure to place them on a solid surface.
The majority of reported incidents occurred while the oil was being heated, prior to adding the turkey. For this reason, it is very important consumers monitor the temperature of the oil closely. If any smoke at all is noticed coming from a heating pot of oil, the burner should be turned off immediately because the oil is overheated.
There is a risk of injury resulting from splashing due to the cooking of partially frozen meats. Thoroughly thaw and dry ALL meats before cooking in hot oil.
For more safety guidelines on Turkey Fryers, visit www.cpsc.com.
Tip 2: Keep your fire in the pit.
Fire pits are becoming a wonderful tradition to use on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and special occasions, and may be built for year-round use. Permanent fire pits are generally made of stone, concrete or metal and come in all sizes and shapes. These types of fire pits generally require a permit to be built and may need to be approved through your homeowners association. Portable fire pits are designed strictly for outdoor use. Portable fire pits are popular due to easy storage when not in use.
If using a portable fire pit, place your fire pit on a solid surface in an open area and no closer than 10 feet from anything flammable, including your house and overhead tree branches.
If using a wood-burning pit, use dry, well-seasoned sticks and don’t overload the pit. Keep a garden hose and a bucket of dry sand nearby in case you experience a flare-up. A fire extinguisher can also come in handy.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating devices are the leading cause of home fires between the months of December and February. In most cases, fires are started because the space heater is placed too close to combustibles, or placed near a bed.
Buying newer models that have temperature controls and auto shut-off capabilities if it should overheat or fall are recommended. Portable, electric space heaters need three feet of clear space in all directions. Keep heaters away from draperies, furniture, bedspreads, people and pets. Also, homeowners should have their central heating equipment professionally inspected and serviced each heating season. And for homeowners who regularly have logs burning in the fireplace, have the chimney inspected and cleaned annually.
Tip 4: Stand by your pan.
Cooking, particularly stove-top cooking, may also lead to home fires. Many such fires happen when residents start something on the stove, become distracted, leave the kitchen and forget to come back to it. If you have to leave the kitchen while cooking, turn the stove burner(s) off.
Tip 5: Check electrical cords and don’t overload the circuits.
Faulty or worn electrical cords are another top cause of home fires. Cords that become frayed or cracked can send sparks to flammable surfaces and start a fire. Check all electrical cords to make sure they are in good shape, and replace those that have deteriorated.
Also, do not overload the circuits. Stick with one plug per receptacle/outlet.
Tip 6: Test your smoke alarms.
Some alarms won’t prevent fires from occurring but they can help limit the damage to your home as well as save lives by letting you know a fire exists. All households should have at least one smoke alarm on each floor and preferably one in each bedroom. Smoke alarms tested and batteries replaced once a year.
Source: Pennsylvania Insurance Department, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission