November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Cooking Safety Tips

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Thanksgiving dinner is the most anticipated meal of the year for Americans and an ideal opportunity for cooks to show off their culinary expertise. However, Thanksgiving is also considered the peak day for preventable cooking fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires are the top cause of home fires and are three times as likely to occur on Thanksgiving Day compared to any other day of the year. Americans will roast, bake, brine, grill and even deep fry more than 45 million turkeys on November 24.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) offer these simple cooking safety tips to help keep you safe in the kitchen, regardless of your cooking style!

  • Stay in the kitchen while food is cooking.  Most fires in the kitchen occur because food is left unattended. If you must leave the kitchen briefly, carry an oven mitt with you as a reminder that something is cooking.
  • Do not try to hold your child in one arm while cooking with the other. Holding a child while cooking is an invitation for a burn. Keep the cooking area clear of clutter and keep your child out of the kitchen while you’re cooking.
  • Keep your range top free of clutter. Don’t overload a range top with too many pots and pans. Trying to cook all dishes at once could cause grease to accidentally spill onto a range top and cause a fire. Only cook with as many pots and pans as there are burners.  Also, never use the oven cavity for storage.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency and know how to use it. Make sure the fire extinguisher is rated for grease fires and electrical fires and read the directions carefully. The acronym P.A.S.S. can help make sure you use it properly.
    • Pull the pin; Aim the spray nozzle low at the base of the fire; Squeeze the nozzle to spray the contents; Sweep back and forth as you spray the base of the fire.
  • Keep smoke alarms connected while cooking. It can be tempting to disable smoke detectors, especially if they are triggered easily. However, smoke alarms can save lives. Make sure smoke alarms are installed and working.
  • Never put a glass casserole or lid on the stove or over a burner. If the glass gets hot and explodes, it will send shards of glass in all directions, which can result in severe injury.
  • Be extremely cautious if using a turkey fryer. Turkey fryers are not safety-certify because they pose a number of distinct safety concerns, including burn and fire hazards. If you do decide to use a turkey fryer this Thanksgiving, be extremely cautious and read all the safety tips on www.ul.com/consumers.

Visit the CPSC’s Twitter page for more tips on holiday safety at http://twitter.com/OnSafety

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