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Nov 23, 2020

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is a timeof  year when serious fires occur.  The National FireProtection Association (NFPA) reports that on Thanksgiving Day, three times theaverage number of cooking fires occur across the United States.

  • Cooking is the leading cause of fires and fire-related injuriesboth in Las Vegas and across the nation.
  • Cooking fires are easily preventable. 
  • Last year (2019) there were 10 fire responses, the least number of fireresponses on the holiday in the last five years. 
  • There were four oven fires inthe city that did not result in any damage or injuries. 
  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in Thanksgiving Day fires. Something that caught fire because it was too close to the equipment ranked second, and unintentionally turned-on or not-turned-off equipment ranked third.
  • Three-fifths (57 percent) of reported cooking fire injuries occurred when victims tried to fight the fire themselves.

Las Vegas Fire & Rescue offers these tips for safer cookingthis holiday. 

Safety tips for deep frying a turkey

  • Only use an approved turkey fryer with four legs and a built-inthermostat, so proper oil temperature can be maintained. Make sure the fryercannot tip over, a major cause of fires and injuries.
  • Fry outdoors, away from buildings and other combustible items.Never use a fryer indoors. Keep children and pets away while frying.
  • Follow instructions on what size turkey should be used, how itshould be cooked and what type of oil to use.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry. Do notstuff the bird and don’t forget to take out the bag of gizzards. Lower theturkey into the hot oil slowly.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Wear fry gloves; regular ovenmittens may not be insulated enough. Splashing oil can cause a flash fire andserious burns, so be careful.
  • Outside cooking devices used at apartment complexes mustbe kept at least 10 feet from any building or wall, cannot be under anoverhang (such as a balcony) and cannot be used above the first floor (onpatios of upper floors). This includes turkey fryers.

General cooking safety tips 

  • Make sure you have a properly operating smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm in the home.
  • If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don't usethe stove or stovetop. 
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling orbroiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turnoff the stove.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire, such as ovenmitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains, away from yourstovetop.
  • When cooking indoors using a natural gas or propane stove, makesure there is not a buildup of carbon monoxide in the home. The stove is acommon source of carbon monoxide in the home, especially if you are cooking forseveral hours. Run any vents you have in the kitchen, especially the one overthe stove. You should open windows/doors in the kitchen at least once each hourto allow fresh air to circulate into the kitchen.
  • NEVER use a barbecue or other outside cooking device inside the home for heating or cooking.  The fire or smoldering coals will produce deadly carbon monoxide gas and can overcome everyone in the building without warning, sometimes with deadly consequences.
  • More fireplace fires occur in the United States on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. If you use a fireplace, make sure the damper is open and the chimney flue is clear to allow smoke and gases to escape properly. Only one log should be permitted to burn at a time. The flame should never go above the lentil (the top part of the fireplace on the inside.)  Discard ashes into a pail of water and let them soak for several hours before discarding. Do not discard ashes in the trash or store them in cardboard boxes or trash bags.
  • When retiring for the evening, make a final inspection of your home and ensure that all appliances, especially the stove, are turned off. If you used outside appliances, such as a barbecue or turkey fryer, make sure the gas is off and ashes are put in a pail of water.
  • Check to ensure any decorations, such as lights, are turned off and candles have been extinguished.

If there is a fire 

  • In the case of a stove fire, shut off the stove and cover theburning pan with a lid or use a fire extinguisher. Do not throw water, salt, flouror any other substance on the fire; these substances can cause the fire toflare. Do not try to move a burning pan outside.
  • If there is a fire inside the oven, shut it off and leave the doorshut.  Call 9-1-1 and report the fire and leave the home untilfirefighters arrive.
  • If the fire is too large, or you feel you cannot handle it, haveeveryone in the home evacuate, go to a safe place like a neighbor’s home, andcall 9-1-1.

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