Many people associate Thanksgiving with food, family, friends and football, but not fire.
To keep it that way, a West Virginia University fire safety expert is offering safety reminders ahead of the holiday during which home cooking fires occur more frequently than at any other time of the year.
“Turkey fryers are one of the top safety concerns for Thanksgiving, but it’s important to practice safe cooking in your kitchen, too. Always stay in the home when roasting your turkey and check on it frequently. If there’s an oven fire, turn off the oven and keep the door closed until it’s cool.
“If you decide to deep fry your turkey, be sure to use the turkey fryer outdoors and never on a wooden deck or in your garage. You’ll also want to make sure your turkey is fully thawed so the hot oil doesn’t splatter when you put it in the pot. Never leave your fryer unattended, even if it’s outside.
“When cooking on the stovetop, stay in the kitchen so you can keep an eye on the food. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove and keep anything that can catch fire, like oven mitts or dish towels, away from the stovetop. Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids — even gravy can cause serious burns.
“If you’re using candles as part of your table setting, do not light them and then leave the room. Children and pets should never be alone in a room with a lit candle. Keep matches and utility lighters up high in a locked cabinet.” — Mark Lambert, Fire Service Extension director and assistant professor, WVU Extension