JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - While frying a turkey has taken on a comical tone with all that go wrong with them, the American Red Cross says it is no laughing matter when a person or home is burned.
With an average of five daily responses across Arkansas to care for victims of home fires, Red Cross Disaster Teams are urging residents to be "extra cautious" this Thanksgiving holiday.
"The kitchen is the place for family and friends to gather to enjoy great dishes and time with each other," said Brigette Williams, regional communications director. "Unfortunately, the kitchen is also the location where most home fires start."
To reduce the risk of fires this holiday, the Red Cross offers these cooking safety tips:
- Make certain your smoke detectors are working. Never disconnect them.
- Check your clothing. Save wearing loose clothing, dangling jewelry or sleeves with material that could catch fire while working near the stove until dinner is served.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use a timer to remind you the stove or oven is on. Turn it off as soon as you remove the food.
- Keep the kitchen a kid- and pet-free zone. Keep both at least three feet away from the stove or oven.
- Keep flammable items (dishtowels, oven mitts, food packaging, etc.) off stovetops or close to flames.
- Turn handles of pots, pans and skillets away from the front of the stove where they could be knocked over.
- Clean cooking surfaces, the oven vent and surrounding walls regularly to reduce grease build up.
- Have a fire extinguisher handy. Also, keep baking soda nearby for grease fires.
- Always do a kitchen double-check before leaving the home, as well as before going to bed, to make certain all stoves, ovens and serving dishes with candles are turned off or extinguished.
As for deep frying a turkey, the American Red Cross suggests you read and follow the fryer directions carefully.
"Cook the bird outside, away from the house or under low-hanging branches, on level ground," Williams said.
Also, make certain children are kept away from the fryer before, during and after the turkey has cooked and been removed.
For more information on preventing home fires, click here.
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