Cooking safety tips for preparing Thanksgiving dinner

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — As many are starting to plan their holiday meals, The Red Cross of Utah and Salt Lake City Fire Department want to remind people what precautions to keep in mind.

“Over the holiday season, we do see an increase in kitchen fires, it’s usually year-round and the number one type of fire we encounter,” said Cpt. Shaun Mumedy with the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

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Fried turkey can be delicious, but if it’s on your menu, fire officials say to take the right steps to prevent a hazard from happening.

On Tuesday, fire officials held a demonstration on what not to do – putting a frozen turkey into a deep fryer, immediately causing flames to emerge from the pot.

Mumedy says turkeys should be completely thawed and dry before frying.

<em>Fire officials demonstrate what can go wrong when trying to deep fry a turkey for Thanksgiving. </em>
Fire officials demonstrate what can go wrong when trying to deep fry a turkey for Thanksgiving.

“Some of the common mistakes with the deep fryer are over-filling it with oil,” he said. “Make sure that you check that level with water and the turkey first. Pull that turkey out and then that level that’s remaining is what you’re going to use for your oil. Another thing to is to make sure that is out in an open and well-ventilated space, no overhead balconies or structures nearby.”

During the holidays, you may also be preparing some meals on the stove. If oil in a pan catches fire, here’s how to put it out.

First, you’ll want to turn off the ignition source, then cover the pan with a lid and find a fire extinguisher or baking soda to put on it, Mumedy said.

He notes that the fire could be reignited when you take off the lid, so sweep the extinguisher over the pan, cover it, leave it, and call 911.

Mumedy said that it’s important to keep cooking precautions in mind to prevent a Thanksgiving celebration from taking a dangerous turn.

“Enjoy this time. We’re not here to put a downer on the situation, we just want people to have a safe and good time,” Mumedy said.

The Red Cross of Utah shared additional safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season:

  1. When cooking or frying a turkey or other items, stay close and check regularly. Most cooking fires are caused by unattended cooking.

  2. Move items that can burn away from the stove, including dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper, and curtains.

  3. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from cooking areas.

  4. Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

  5. When frying food, turn the burner off if you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil, and carefully remove the pan from the burner with a protective oven mitt or hot pads.

  6. Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby in case to serve as a cover to put out a pan fire. Leave until completely cooled.

  7. Turn pot handles to the back of the stove so no one bumps or pulls them over.

  8. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.

  9. Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to ensure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.

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