TALLADEGA -- In the spirit of everyone enjoying a safe, happy Thanksgiving, Talladega fire Chief Danny Warwick issued a list of safety tips, with many aimed specifically at those who may be attempting to fry a turkey.
“Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors, a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials,” he said. “Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck, (and) make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
“Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls, so if you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.”
To avoid spillover, he continued, do not overfill the fryer, and “use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching the pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
“Make sure the turkey is completely thawed, and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire hazard or even an explosion hazard.
“The National Turkey Federation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds in weight.”
Whether you are frying a turkey this year or not, it is always a good idea to “keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby,” Warwick said. “Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call for help.”
Common sense still applies around the holidays, just like during the rest of the year.
When cooking on a stove top, stay in the kitchen to keep an eye on the food, and if you are cooking a turkey indoors, stay home and check on it frequently. Make sure all your smoke alarms are working. You can test them by pushing the test button.
There are fairly simple ways to fight a cooking fire yourself.
If it is a stove top fire, “smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner,” the chief said. “Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.”
If you have any doubt about fighting a small fire, “get out,” Warwick said. “When you leave, close the door to help contain the fire. Call 911 from outside the home.”