BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WSAV) — Thanksgiving is about family, friends, and food.
But amid all the fun, safety is not always top of mind.
Fire doubles in size every 15-20 seconds. So things can go wrong in a matter of moments.
Forty-six million turkeys will be consumed in America this holiday season. But it is two other numbers that safety officials are more concerned about. National statistics show that 60 injuries and $15 million in damages are caused by cooking accidents every year. The majority of those happen during the holidays.
“The last few fatalities we have had in the Burton Fire District have been related to the kitchen and a lack of smoke alarms,” explained Burton Fire Captain Daniel Byrne.
One of the most popular ways to cook a turkey is deep frying. But do you know the dangers before you drop the turkey in the oil?
Byrne said the biggest mistake people make, not allowing the bird to thaw out before they drop it in the oil.
A frozen turkey will melt immediately in the high temperatures of the pot, and the oil will react with the melted water from the bird, with explosive results.
But that’s not the only warning from firefighters.
“If you are going to fry a turkey don’t do it in the garage, and don’t do it if there’s any kind of an overhang, we recommend 50 feet from a structure and no wooden decking. there shouldn’t be anything around there that can burn. We recommend a three-foot safety zone for children and pets. Pets can also cause a problem as well. Have a dry chemical fire extinguisher ready. If there is a fire immediately call 911.”
But safety doesn’t stop outside.
Kitchen and cooking fires account for nearly 40% of all fire injuries, and 20% of fire deaths.
The first mistake people make is stepping away from their stove or not keeping an eye on their pots. Second, that can change things in an instant.
“When you are cooking, three feet,” said Byrne. “If it has heat three feet. There shouldn’t be anything around your stove within three feet that can burn. Aprons, towels, paper towels, and even cooking oil or grease. that is also flammable and the flame doesn’t have to touch it to get it to ignite. Just like here it just has to get it hot enough to get it to ignition temperature.”
If you do see flames on that pot on the stove, remember that tossing water into that hot oil may only make it worse.
So be prepared.
“Keep a pan lid nearby so if a fire does start you can quickly smother it with a pan lid,” the Captain explained the Captain. “Finally a fire extinguisher. Get a home fire extinguisher, an ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher you can get at any department store in Beaufort County. Get it out where it can be seen and used. Don’t hide it under a counter or too close to the oven. Put it somewhere that can be easily reached and out of the path of any flames.”
Make sure you have smoke detectors that work.
If you do have some issue with fire, firefighters say to get out of the house or away from it yourself.
Then you should call 911 immediately. Seconds count in these cases. They would rather turn around because the fire isn’t as bad as you originally thought than deal with massive damage, injuries, or worse.