Fire officials provide tips for a safe Thanksgiving
BATON ROUGE - With tomorrow being the time to break out the deep fryer and toss in the family bird, Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning offered some advice during our 4 p.m. broadcast concerning safe preparation techniques for Thanksgiving dinner.
Despite turkey frying's well established position as a South Louisiana tradition, firefighters are dispatched every year to deal with fires that break out due to individuals who fail to exercise proper precaution when dunking turkeys into large pots of high temperature cooking oil.
"Do it away from your home. Don't do it under your car port. Don't even do it on the wooden deck of your patio because that will burn and subsequently catch your house on fire," said Browning about where to set up the frying equipment.
Key to safe turkey frying beyond ensuring there is enough head space is to make sure the oil does not boil over during the cooking operation. Browning says that oil coming into contact with the burner below the pot will result in a fire. Additionally, ensuring that the turkey is completely defrosted is also key as introducing a still frozen bird to the hot oil can cause a dangerous mess.
While the perils of frying turkey might be more attention grabbing, fire officials are quick to point out that cooking indoors can be just as dangerous without proper precaution. In fact, the holiday sees twice as many home fires as any other day of the year as Louisianians fire up ovens that may otherwise remain dormant for most of the year. Eldon Ledoux of the St. George Fire Department says most of the danger comes from cooks who leave the high temperature cooking appliances on while unattended.
Ledoux advises to never leave a stove unattended and to ensure that the surrounding surfaces are clean in order to avoid fires. Also, make sure a lid is within reach because smothering fires is almost always the best approach to take when it comes to putting out a fire.
"Don't use a fire extinguisher on an oil fire because what that will do is splash it and spread the fire," said Ledoux "The best thing to do is always have a lid to the pot handy, and if you should have a fire, pick up the lid and smother it."
While these tips can certainly be a key step in keeping your home safe this holiday, fire officials advise the public to not hesitate when it comes to contacting them in the event of a fire. You might have too many cooks in the kitchen for Thanksgiving, if a fire breaks out it is best to let the professionals handle it.