Give thanks for safe cooking and avoid ‘turkey tragedies’. Lowcountry holiday traditions such as deep-frying turkeys and outdoor oyster roasts promise great fun and fellowship, but also bring a high risk of fire accidents, the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department says,
Add to that the “too many cooks in the kitchen syndrome” where people become involved in conversations and catching up and then forget about their cooking – and it’s a recipe for holiday disaster.
Each year, cooking fires are the most likely to threaten homes. And each year, cooking fires peak on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Thanksgiving Day is the worst for home cooking fires, according to statistics from 2007-2011 by the National Fire Protection Association. Frying poses the greatest risk, they said. More than half of reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries happened when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.
“A little bit of precaution and care can spare a family a major fire disaster,” the Department said. “If you are frying a turkey, be sure you do it outside, be sure you know what you’re doing and be sure to keep young children away. The fryer can tip over and that is a huge safety issue. If there’s a fire, get out and call 911.”
Firefighters cautioned against using outdoor fryers on porches with overhangs or roofs, or using the cookers indoors.
“People think they have a water hose or extinguisher nearby, but when they need it, sometimes they realize they’re back in the garage or put up for the winter. Plan ahead,” the Department cautioned.
The Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department offers these safety tips to keep the holidays safe from fire:
Stay in the kitchen or near the cooking appliance when frying, grilling or broiling. If you must leave the room, turn off the heat. In large gatherings, be sure the cook is taking care of cooking, not conversing!
Use a kitchen timer to remind you that something is in the oven or on the grill.
Stay alert! If you are tired or under the effects of alcohol you are at risk in the kitchen.
Keep combustible materials away for the cook top. Counter space is always at a premium, but don’t crowd the stove. Be especially alert to newspapers and other materials that frequently clutter counter tops.
Be prepared by keeping a lid and a pot holder nearby. Know where your fire extinguisher is located and know to use it; check the extinguisher’s gauge to be sure it is properly filled. An expired or low-pressure fire extinguisher won’t do the job; replacement units are available at local hardware and discount stores.
“Most of the Thanksgiving dinners around here will be a huge success,” the Department said. “Our goal is to help them all be a success – and that means our firefighters don’t have to respond to any emergencies during the holiday.”
If you would like to discuss fire prevention opportunities for your home or business please contact the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Departments at 843-525-7055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.