State Fire Commissioner Reminds Citizens to Cook Safely This Thanksgiving

HARRISBURG, Pa. – State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay is reminding citizens to follow common cooking safety rules when celebrating Thanksgiving this week with family and friends.

“We’re entering a time of year that means lots of time with family and friends, and all the good food that goes along with it,” Solobay said. “But don’t get so caught up in the celebrations that you forget about safety, because not doing so can mean a holiday that’s unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.”

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, from 2011-2013, 72 percent of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings were caused by cooking. By comparison, cooking was the cause of 48 percent of residential building fires that occurred on all days of the year other than Thanksgiving.

Solobay shared the following reminders for safe holiday cooking:

– Create a child-free zone around hot spots like stoves, turkey fryers and ovens using masking or painters tape on the floor. Get the kids involved in helping you tape off their “no-go zone”, then find kid-friendly ways they can help in the kitchen. Keep pets away from hot spots too.

– Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so they’re not accidentally knocked off the stove.

– Wear short sleeves, or roll up long sleeves so they won’t hang down and brush against burners.

– Keep an eye on pots and pans; turn off all burners if you need to leave the kitchen.

– Don’t ever use a turkey fryer on a wooden deck or in a garage; keep it away from your home and buildings.

– Be careful not to overfill your turkey fryer, and make sure your turkey is completely thawed before putting it in.

– The sides, lid and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot.

– Check your kitchen fire extinguisher to make sure it’s properly charged and ready for use. Purchase a fire extinguisher if you don’t have one.

“If you do have a fire in your home, don’t panic. Just get everyone out of the house and call 9-1-1,” Solobay said. “There are thousands of dedicated men and women across the state who are willing to leave their own Thanksgiving celebrations and come help keep you and your family safe.”

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