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Remember fire safety when cooking this holiday season


Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the National Fire Protection Association are calling on all cooks to include fire safety in their recipes and meal preparations.

Below are safety tips to remember when preparing the holiday meal and entertaining family and friends:  

  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, remember to check it regularly. Use a timer to remind you that something is on the stove or in the oven. Never leave the house when cooking.
  • Turn the stove burners off if you have to leave the kitchen or the house for any period of time or when going to sleep.
  • Keep anything that could catch on fire–oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains–away from the stovetop, oven, or any other heat producing appliance in the kitchen.
  • Never wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Remember to stop, drop, and roll if your clothes catch fire. Cool a burn injury with water until the pain goes away.
  • Never attempt to cook if you are extremely tired or if you’ve consumed too many alcoholic beverages.
  • Keep children and pets a safe distance away from the oven or stove when cooking. Create a “kids-free zone” around cooking appliances that produce heat or have an open flame.

If you are planning to deep-fry the holiday bird, remember to follow proper fire safety precautions to prevent a fire or burn injury:

  • Follow all manufacturers’ instructions for cooking and safety when using a turkey fryer to deep-fry the turkey.
  • Turkey fryers should be used outdoors and a safe distance away from the house or any other combustible material. NEVER leave the fryer unattended.
  • Place the turkey fryer on a solid, flat-level surface. NEVER use the turkey fryer on the back deck or in the garage/carport.  
  • To avoid a spillover of the hot oil, follow the manufacturer’s instructions when filling the pot. DO NOT overfill the fryer.
  • Keep children and pets away from the fryer. The pot will be extremely hot, both during and immediately after cooking. Remember to use insulated cooking mitts or potholders when touching the pot or removing the lid cover.
  • Wear safety glasses or goggles to prevent hot oil splatter from getting in your eyes. The hot oil could cause a serious burn injury to the face or eyes.
  • Be sure to use the proper cooking oil and keep the oil temperature in the turkey fryer at the recommended level (350 degrees Fahrenheit or below) when cooking. The oil could ignite and burn if the temperature is raised above the recommended level.
  • A fresh bird is preferred when cooking in a turkey fryer. A frozen bird should be allowed to thaw atleast 24 hours in the refrigerator before cooking. Placing a frozen turkey into a fryer could cause a violent reaction.   
  • Begin by partially lowering the turkey into the pot slowly. The hot oil may bubble fiercely at first. Allow the bubbles to settle before lowering the bird the rest of the way.
  • The oil in the pot should be completely cooled before removing or storing.
  • Keep a multipurpose, ABC-rated portable fire extinguisher close at hand.

Always follow general home fire safety rules:

  • Install and maintain working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in the home. Place smoke alarms on every level of the home and in each of the bedrooms.
  • Develop a home fire escape plan and practice fire drills with the entire family.
  • Get Out, Stay Out! Call 911 from outside the burning building. Never attempt to go back inside during a fire.

Don’t let your holiday go up in smoke. For additional information on safe cooking practices or home fire safety, please contact the Gwinnett Fire Community Risk Reduction Division at 678.518.4845 or email fireprograms@gwinnettcounty.com.