I doubt that it has changed much since I left the job; firefighters love to eat. I can remember some of the best meals that I have ever eaten were in a fire station. There is nothing worse than to sit down for a meal and have the “heartsaver” tones go off – 3.7 out of every 10 responses will be to a single-family or multi-family dwelling for a kitchen fire. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where cooking is a big part of the celebration. Will you have uninvited guests coming to your home?
Cooking related fires happen every day, sometimes multiple times, even in the same department. As you have heard from me numerous times before, the possibility of a fire always exists, where heat, fuel and oxygen are in the proper mix. It is when the probability goes up that the equation goes from if to when. Would you act differently if you knew that a fire would occur in your kitchen today?
It should be our goal to prevent a fire at all costs. Do not allow distractions to pull you out of the kitchen. If you are present when a problem occurs, then you will be more prone to fix the problem before it becomes a fire. For instance, if a pan of grease starts smoking, you can turn the burner off. If an appliance malfunctions, you can unplug it.
The pan of grease is one of the leading things to catch fire and get out of hand. If a pan of grease catches fire, you should cover the pan with some type of lid. A cookie sheet works well, since you can slide it across the pan, with less chance of you getting burned. Under no circumstances should you attempt to remove an overheated pan of grease. Remember, the fire is out because you have cut off the oxygen. If the top falls off, during removal, the pan could reignite. Another way to deal with a burning pan of grease is with a Class B or Multi-purpose extinguisher. Remember, pull the pin, aim the nozzle, squeeze the handle and sweep the nozzle.
It is not your job to fight the fire, but most of you will attempt it before dialing 9-1-1. The best answer would be for someone else to call 9-1-1, while you are attempting to extinguish the fire.
Properly placed and operating smoke alarms should be activating from the smoke. You and your family’s No.1 responsibility is to get out of your burning home and stay out. What you take with you should be acquired on the first journey out the door.
I am not sure how you will cook your turkey, whether in the oven or in a deep fryer. A problem will arise with the deep fryer, if the turkey is still frozen. Water and hot grease do not mix. You also need to make sure that you do not overload the pot with too much cooking oil. The bird will raise the level of oil. You need to use a deep fryer in a safe place, away from the house, in the event that a fire does occur. It will be important to turn off the propane cylinder, if a fire or problem exists.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and enjoy your family. We have much to be thankful for, especially in this country. Pay attention to what you are doing. If a problem arises, act appropriately and call 9-1-1. Houses can be rebuilt, lives cannot. If you do not mind your p’s and q’s, then you will have problems. Unwanted fires cause those uninvited guests to come to your home. Firefighters would love to come and fight your fire; that is why we became firefighters.