Nov. 22, 2023
Holiday Cooking Safety Tips from the Pensacola Fire Department
With the holidays around the corner, the Pensacola Fire Department encourages residents to practice cooking safety now and throughout the year. Cooking is the greatest cause of home fires and injuries, and Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.
“Before you begin preparing exquisite meals, plan for fire safety and check your smoke alarms to make sure they are in working order," Fire Marshal Jose J. Cobbs said.
Here are a few cooking safety tips to follow as you prepare your holiday meals:
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking at high temperatures.
- Stay home when cooking turkey and check on it frequently. If you leave the kitchen, set a timer to remind yourself food is simmering or baking.
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the stove.
- Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves to avoid fabric catching fire.
- Keep pan/pot handles turned towards the back of the stove to avoid spilling hot liquid.
There are several risks to consider when frying a turkey:
- Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot oil across a large area.
- An overfilled cooking pot will cause oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside. You can test the level of oil needed by filling the pot with water first and dipping the turkey inside to see how much the water rises.
- A partially frozen turkey will cause hot oil to splatter.
- Without thermostat controls, turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire.
- Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
- The pot, lid and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries.
The Pensacola Fire Department recommends an electric turkey fryer. However, if you do deep-fry a turkey, follow these safety tips:
- Place the fryer outside, on a flat surface that cannot burn, such as cement.
- Place the fryer at least 10 feet from anything that can catch fire. This includes anything overhead like your house eaves or branches.
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet from the fryer.
- Use a fryer with thermostat controls. Without these, the oil can heat to the point of catching fire.
- Thaw the turkey completely before cooking to keep ice crystals from splattering oil.
- Use potholders and oven mitts when handling the turkey fryer.
To watch a video showing how quickly a turkey fryer can catch fire, click here.
For more cooking safety tips, visit the U.S. Fire Administration's website.