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Make Safety a Thanksgiving Priority

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during Thanksgiving. Kids love to be involved in holiday preparations, and a Thanksgiving meal is a great time to let kids help out in the kitchen.  Kitchen safety is extremely important, especially when there is a lot of activity and people around.
Cooking safety and kids

Download the "Kids in the Kitchen" guide from in_the_kitchen.pdf for ideas on what different age groups can do around the kitchen as you prepare your holiday meal.

In 2011, there were more than 1,200 fires involving cooking equipment reported on Thanksgiving day.  That represents an increase of 183 percent in the number reported daily throughout the rest of the year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

To reduce the risk of cooking fires this holiday, the Schriever AFB Fire Prevention Staff and the NFPA recommend these safety tips:

- Keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food- packaging towels or curtains away for the stove top. 
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.  Brad Truver, Schriever AFB Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention, reminds us to "Stand by your pan".
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children three feet away from the stove
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee can cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don't trip over the toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- 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 room with a lit a candle.

If you do have a cooking fire:
- Keep a lid nearby when cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stove top. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- When in doubt, just get out!  And when you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from a neighbor or friend's house. 

Turkey Fryer
NFPA and Schriever Fire Department discourage the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that cook the turkey in hot oil. The use of turkey fryers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property.  Schriever AFB Fire Inspector Paul Macek recommends that if you prefer fried turkey, look for grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants that sell deep fried turkeys or consider a new type of "oil-less" turkey fryer.

The dangers of Turkey Fryers

Turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures, and units currently available for home use pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process. The use of turkey fryers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property.

- Only use a turkey fryer outside and away from your home. Never use it in a garage or on a porch. Don't overfill the oil or leave the turkey fryer unattended.

- Hot oil may splash or spill at any point during the cooking process, when the fryer is jarred or tipped over, the turkey is placed in the fryer or removed, or the turkey is moved from the fryer to the table. Any contact between hot oil and skin could result in serious injury.

- In deep frying, oil is heated to temperatures of 350 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Cooking oil is combustible, and if it is heated beyond its cooking temperature, its vapors can ignite. This is a fire danger separate from the burn danger inherent in the hot oil. Overheating can occur if temperature controls are defective, or if the appliance has no temperature controls.

- The approximately five gallons of oil in these devices introduce an additional level of hazard to deep fryer cooking, as does the size and weight of the turkey.It must be safely lowered into and raised out of the large quantity of hot oil. Many turkeys are purchased frozen, and they may not be fully thawed when cooking begins.

- There are new outdoor turkey cooking appliances that do not use oil. Consider using this type of fryer for your holiday meal
The Schriever AFB Fire Department would like everyone to follow these recipes for a fire safe holiday season.  And remember, "Stand by your pan" this Thanksgiving to help prevent kitchen fires.
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