Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 25th, and unfortunately it's a day that results in quite a few calls to 9-1-1 because of home cooking fires. In fact Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. Local fire departments are just a phone call to 9-1-1 away, but the Ellsworth Fire Department offers these safety tips

"No matter how many years you've been cooking, or how many Thanksgiving feasts you've served, you still need to make safety your main ingredient," says Fire Chief Scott Guillerault.

Start with these prevention tips:

  • Make your cooking area safe. Move things that can burn away from the stove.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back so that they can't be bumped.
  • Watch what you're cooking. Use a timer when roasting a turkey or baking pies.
  • Be prepared. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in case you need to smother a pan fire.
  • Stay awake and alert while you're cooking. If you see smoke or the grease starts to boil in your pan, turn the burner off.
  • Prevent burns. Wear short sleeves when you cook, or roll them up. Don't lean over the burner. Use potholders and oven mitts to handle hot cookware.

A Note About Frying Turkeys

Deep-frying turkeys has become popular in recent years. This cooking method has a lot of risks. Turkey fryers get hot all over, so they need to be handled with great care and only by an adult. They can tip over, spilling hot cooking oil. Partially frozen turkeys placed into hot fryers will cause the oil to splatter. If fryers are overfilled, the hot oil will spill over the side when the turkey is added. Even a small amount of oil on a hot burner can start a fire.

Follow these safety tips if you're going to deep-fry a turkey

  • Place the fryer outside on a flat surface that can't burn, such as cement.
  • Place the fryer several feet from anything that can catch fire.
  • Don't let children or pets come anywhere near it.
  • An adult should watch the fryer while it cooks.
  • Use a fryer with thermostat controls. Without these controls, the oil can heat to the point of catching fire.
  • Thaw the turkey completely before cooking it so that ice crystals won't splatter the hot oil.
  • Use potholders and oven mitts when handling the turkey.

For additional fire safety and burn prevention information, contact Ellsworth Fire Department at 667-8666 or your local fire department