11/19/2012 9:55:00 PM Keep family safe during Thanksgiving
Lisa Irish The Daily Courier
Many families gather in the kitchen to spend time together, but it can be the most hazardous room in the home if safe cooking behaviors aren't practiced, said Rick Chase, fire marshal with Central Yavapai Fire District.
Cooking equipment is the leading cause of reported home fires and injuries as well as unreported fires and injuries in the United States, Chase said.
"It's a recipe for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing, especially hanging sleeves, while cooking," Chase said. "It's also important to stay close by when cooking, and keep all flammable items such as potholders, paper towels and cooking oil away from the stove."
While deep-frying turkeys has become popular, safe cooking techniques must be followed to prevent injuries, Chase said.
"Some units can easily tip over and a partially frozen turkey or too much oil in the unit can lead to spilling or splattering of hot oil," Chase said.
With no thermostat controls, fryers have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of ignition, and fryers too close to buildings, porches, or combustibles can also start a fire, Chase said.
Central Yavapai Fire District asks people to be aware of these hazards and plan accordingly to protect your family and property from harm, Chase said.
If you're leaving for the holiday weekend let a trusted neighbor know and ask them to watch out for your home, said Traces Gordon, crime prevention specialist with the Prescott Police Department.
Call the Prescott Police Department at 777-1988 to sign up for Vacation Watch to check your home while you're gone.
Thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator not the counter to avoid salmonella. Allow a day of thawing for each five pounds of frozen turkey. Remember to cook stuffing separately, not inside the turkey.
Plan plenty of time for your trip, including stops for breaks, fuel up your car ahead of time so you don't get stranded in a place with no gas, and lock your car at every stop, Gordon said.
"Encourage guests not to feed the family pets leftovers or scraps, especially turkey bones," Gordon said. "Find a quiet place for your pets during all the excitement and activity."
Always shop with another person during the day, carry minimal cash and credit cards, and keep your packages and valuables locked in your car's trunk, Gordon said.