The Houston Fire Department responds to an average of 500 cooking related fires every year. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the number one cause of residential fires and they can be prevented.
One of the busiest cooking-related holidays is tomorrow and with this in mind, the HFD wants to remind citizens of simple safety tips:
- Always, have a working smoke detector!
- Over half the people attempting to extinguish a kitchen fire are injured. Often the best advice is to get everyone out of the house and call the fire department (911) from a neighbor’s house.
- Use a moderate cooking temperature
- Don't overfill the container
- If you must leave the kitchen, turn the burner off (Unattended cooking is the primary cause of kitchen fires. Over half of these are grease/oil fires.)
- Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove. Curious children may reach up and grab the handle, pulling the hot contents down on themselves.
- Don't position handles over another burner, it may catch on fire or burn someone who touches it.
- Wear short sleeves or tight fitting long sleeves when cooking to reduce a clothing fire hazard.
- Shield yourself from scalding steam when lifting lids from hot pans.
- Make sure pot holders are not too close to the stove. They could catch fire!
- Keep ovens, broilers, stove tops, and exhaust ducts free from grease.
- If there is a fire in the oven - Turn off the oven and keep the oven door closed.
- Never try to move the pan, don't throw water on it, and don't put flour on it.
- If you attempt to extinguish the fire, it is best to use a class ABC multipurpose fire extinguisher. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions - stay back 6 to 8 feet and be careful not to spray the grease out of the pan. Baking soda can also smother the fire. Fires can double in size every 30 seconds.
The HFD would also like to remind citizens about the dangers of cooking with turkey fryers. Turkey fryers can create a delicious holiday treat for your family and friends but without proper precautions, can become a dangerous and deadly disaster.
- Follow each of these recommended safety tips when using a turkey fryer so you can have a safe and tasty holiday season.
- Turkey fryers are extremely dangerous.
- Always use turkey fryers outdoors away from anything that can burn.
- Always use the fryer outdoors on a level surface to avoid tipping
- Never use them on wooden decks or in garages
- Never leave the fryer unattended even for a second
- Never let children or pets near the fryer
- The oil will remain dangerously hot hours after use
- Never overfill a fryer
- The turkey must be completely thawed before being placed in the hot oil
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby and use heavy duty pot holders.
- Never use water to extinguish the fire.
- In addition to a completely thawed turkey, you will need a 40 or 60 quart pot with basket or turkey frying hardware, plus a propane gas tank and burner,
a candy/deep fry thermometer, a meat thermometer and lots of oil. Use oils that have a high smoke point, such as corn, peanut or canola oils.
As far as the turkey itself goes, smaller birds work better for frying. Try not to go over 15 pounds.
Before you fry, these tips will help to prevent oil overflow:
Before beginning, (and before you even season or marinate your turkey) determine the amount of oil you will need by placing the turkey in the basket (or on the hanger, depending on the type of fryer you are using) and putting it in the pot. Add water until it reaches about two inches above the turkey. Remove the turkey and note the water level by using a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the pot to the surface of the water. Remove the water and thoroughly dry the pot. Now add enough oil to equal what the water level was without the turkey in the pot.
Remember: There are many local grocery stores and other businesses that prepare fried turkeys so you do not have to. Always practice these and
other safe cooking habits.