Firefighters in Rochester, Minnesota, wanted to demonstrate some cooking safety tips as millions of Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday — a day on which there are a disproportionate amount of cooking fires, according to the local fire department.
"There are three times as many cooking fires on Thanksgiving than on any other normal day," the Rochester Fire Department said.
The fire department shared a video of what happens when water is poured on an oil fire. Video shows flames reaching outside the oven. "Turn off the burner and use the lid to cover the flames, NEVER put water on a cooking oil fire," the fire department wrote.
Here are some other Thanksgiving cooking safety tips:
Thanksgiving cooking safety tips, per National Fire Prevention Association:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in a room with a lit candle.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
In the event of a cooking fire:
- If it’s an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- For a stovetop fire, put a lid on it and turn off the elements.
- If the fire is out of control, get everyone out of the house and close the door behind you to help contain it.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number from outside the home.
- If you try using the fire extinguisher, make sure others are getting out and that you have a clear path out of the home. Have someone call the fire department at the same time.
In 2019, fire departments across the country responded to an estimated 1,40 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Unattended cooking is the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths, with cooking causing nearly half (49%) of all reported home fires. The NFPA strongly discourages using a turkey fryer. The organization believes the fryers that use cooking oil are not suitable for use at home, no matter how well-informed or careful the consumer may be. The turkey fryers use a substantial quality of oil at high temperatures.
If you choose to use a turkey fryer, there are important steps to take to ensure safety, according to Butterball:
Deep-frying turkey indoors:
- Completely thaw your turkey, or use a fresh turkey.
- Take the wrapper off of the turkey, and remove and discard the neck and giblets. Pat dry.
- Add oil to the fryer, but do not exceed the maximum fill line. Preheat oil in the fryer to 375° F.
- While the oil is heating, prepare your turkey with any seasonings, marinades, or injected flavors. Tuck legs.
- Once the oil is heated, place the basket in the fryer for 30 seconds. Remove basket from oil, place turkey in basket. Slowly lower the turkey into the fryer. The turkey may not be totally immersed in the oil. This may cause the top part of the breast to remain white even though it is cooked to the proper end temperature.
- Set the timer and cook the turkey about 3 to 4 minutes per pound.
- Cook all dark meat to an internal temperature of 175° F to 180° F, and all white meat to an internal temperature of 165° F to 170° F. Here's some help on how to check your turkey's temperature for doneness.
- When the turkey is done, slowly lift it from the pot and place it in a pan or on paper towels to drain.
- Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before removing it from the rack or basket to carve.
Deep-frying turkey outdoors:
- To start, take the wrapper off of the turkey, and remove and discard the neck and giblets.
- Deep-fry your turkey outside on a flat surface, far away from homes, garages, wooden decks, etc.
- To determine how much oil is needed for frying, place the thawed turkey in the fryer basket and place it in the fryer. Add water until the top of the turkey is barely covered. Remove the turkey, allowing the water to drain from the turkey back into the fryer. Measure and mark the water line, and use that line as a guide when adding oil to the propane fryer.
- There should be at least 3 to 5 inches from the fill line to the top of the pot so oil doesn’t boil over.
- While the oil is heating, prepare your turkey with any seasonings, marinades, or injected flavor that you desire.
- When the oil is hot, turn the burner off and slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil. Slowly lowering the basket helps prevent the oil from bubbling over. Turn the burner back on.
- Cook the turkey about 3 to 4 minutes per pound.
- The turkey is done when the dark meat is at an internal temperature of 175° F to 180° F and all white meat is at an internal temperature of 165° F to 170° F.
- When the turkey is done, slowly lift it from the pot and place it in a pan or on paper towels to drain. Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before removing it from the rack or basket.
Disposing of grease:
Did you know plumbers refer to the day after Thanksgiving as "Brown Friday" because of the uptick in business they get from feast-clogged pipes and sewer lines?
Fats, oils and grease (also known as "FOG") can cause major home plumbing issues – as well as problems in the sewer system. Just as fatty foods clog arteries, FOG sticks to the inside of pipes causing blockages and backups of raw sewage, that can put your family’s health and the environment at risk.
FOG gets into the sewer most commonly through sinks, dishwashers, and floor drains. Common cooking FOG includes:
- Any type of cooking oil (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, etc.)
- Salad dressings
- Bacon grease
- Meat fat
- Dairy products
The last thing you’re going to want to deal with during the holidays is a sewer overflow, so put cooking oil and grease where they belong: in your garbage, in a tightly-sealed container.
- Put baskets and strainers in sinks to catch food scraps and metal from scrub pads.
- Don’t put greasy food or meat in garbage disposals.
- Before washing dishes, use a spatula to scrape batter and food residue from bowls and plates.
- Never pour oil or grease into a storm drain, which can harm wildlife.
FOX 13 Tampa, FOX 10 Phoenix and FOX 13 News Seattle contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.