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How to keep your Thanksgiving fire free

How to keep your Thanksgiving fire free

November 21, 2011

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, home chefs around Hawaii are preoccupied with how to prepare the perfect bird – crispy on the outside and moist on the inside – while still juggling a myriad of holiday obligations and distractions (seeing the in-laws and playing host to family and friends).

With so much going on in the kitchen and on the calendar, it’s easy to let things slip – a knife to the fingers or a burned palm from a hot bird. But the most common Thanksgiving hazard – other than watery mashed potatoes or a dry turkey – are home fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, with an estimated 66 percent of home cooking fires beginning with food or other cooking tools igniting. This year, prepare a delicious meal and have a safe, turkey-riffic Thanksgiving with these tips:

AVOID USING OUTDOOR, GAS-FUELED TURKEY FRYERS.

These types of fryers – which require immersing the turkey, use a substantial amount of cooking oil and at searing hot temperatures, create a very real danger that the oil will splash or drip during the cooking process. When used by consumers, these types of fryers can result in devastating injuries as well as serious destruction of property. If you are intent on having a deep-fried turkey, avoid these risks by taking advantage of professional chefs, such as your local grocery store or restaurant.

DON’T LEAVE YOUR STOVE UNATTENDED.

If you’re cooking don’t leave the kitchen – always turn off the stove even when stepping out of the room for a brief period of time. When preparing food check on it regularly and use a timer to keep you in check on what you’re cooking and when it needs to be removed from heat.

REMOVE FLAMMABLE OBJECTS.

Move anything away from the stove that could potentially catch fire such as cloth potholders, wooden utensils or food wrappers. When cooking, also be sure to wear tighter-fitting clothing with short sleeves – long sleeves or billowy clothing can easily catch fire when you are busy whisking around the kitchen.

The Hawaii Fire Department strongly recommends that smoke detectors in the home be tested monthly to be sure that they are operating correctly. If a smoke detector requires batteries to operate they should be replaced annually.

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