The smell of delicious home cooked turkey, your special pumpkin pie, the game playing on the TV, festive music, friends and family visiting to enjoy a sumptuous meal are some of the cherished Thanksgiving Day traditions.
Unfortunately, disaster can strike at any time.
Officials from the Fire District of Chino Valley have given the following tips with the aim of helping you to deal with common threats that may be lurking in your kitchen.
To start off with, it is essential to ensure that appliances are clean and that the area that the food is being prepared in is clean as well in order to reduce the risk of fires.
According to officials, with the focus on the kitchen at Thanksgiving, the risk of kitchen fires is at its peak.
This may seem to put a bit of a damper on festivities at first but, according to the spokeswoman for the CVFD, Massiel De Guevara, with a little bit of care, you can enjoy a safe and fun Thanksgiving.
Preventing fire should be your main aim according to De Guevara and there is a lot that you can do in this regard. Starting off by cleaning the grease and any leftover food spills from the oven and stove are the first step.
Both spilled food and grease are flammable and may end up starting a fire in the oven or kitchen.
De Guevara relates an incident on Thanksgiving in 2015 where the oven had not been cleared of old grease. This grease subsequently ignited and the fire department had to be called in to deal with it.
According to the fire department, the clothes that you wear while cooking should be carefully considered – bulky clothing or clothing that comes into contact with the flame during cooking can ignite and cause serious injury. It is also a good idea to reconsider wearing jewelry that might catch on handles.
According to National Fire Protection Association statistics, fires that begin in kitchens account for around 30 percent of fires in the home.
As a result, fire officials are aiming to educate people about what they can do if there is a fire on the stove.
If it is a small fire, and it is contained in a frying pan, it is best to slide a lid into place over the pan in a smooth and slow motion in order to cut off the fire’s oxygen. The burner should be turned off and the lid should be left in place until the pan had cooled completely. If the fire starts in your microwave, it is best to leave the door closed, shut the microwave off and unplug it.
A lot of people enjoy a deep-fried turkey for Thanksgiving.
According to Robyn Ramset, a resident of Redlands, she and her husband use the deep-fat fryer to prepare the turkey every year. She goes on to say that her husband is especially careful when putting the bird into the deep-fat fryer.
They caution that putting too much oil in the fryer can result in spillages when the bird is put in, raising the risk of flash fires.
Ramset’s husband was a firefighter and had his fair share of having to respond to house fires throughout the years. According to Ramset, a lot of them were as a result of the pots being over-filled with oil.
The official recommendation is that you place the deep-fat fryer at least 10-feet outside your home and make sure that pets and children keep a safe distance.
The fryer should always be supervised and the bird must be properly thawed and patted completely dry before it is slowly lowered into the fryer to reduce the risk of oil sputtering.
The Department of Public Health for San Bernardino County want people to know that making sure that preparation areas are clean when preparing the food for Thanksgiving is essential for stopping food-borne bacteria in their tracks.
You should clean your hands using soap and warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds both before you start to prepare the food and after you have handled any raw meat.
If the turkey was bought fresh, there is no need to thaw it and it can be cooked straight away. If the turkey is frozen, it may take a few days to thaw, depending on the size of the bird.
The bird should be cooked straight after it has thawed out. Using a meat thermometer to gauge the temperature inside the bird is the safest option. Choose the thickest section of the thigh and insert the thermometer, being careful that it does not touch bone. The meat should be cooked until it reaches a temperature of at least 165 degrees.
According to De Guevara, it is a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher where it is easy to get to in need.
She recommends that you keep a 5-pound extinguisher on hand just in case something catches alight. She also expressed her hope that everybody would be able to enjoy the festivities without needing to be visited by the fire department or having to visit and emergency room.