Fire Safety Tips for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires, and the National Fire Protection Association says nearly four times as many home cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving than on the average day.
Fairhaven Fire and EMS spokesman Wayne Oliveira tells WBSM News that's also held true in his town over the years.
"Obviously, the bigger the city or town, the more activity you're going to see," he said. "But for an average-sized town, we do see some spikes in cooking accidents, EMS calls, burns and injuries, just because there is so much activity is going on."
Oliveira says oven fires are the most frequent report on Thanksgiving.
"There are a lot of different reasons. People aren't used to cooking exceptionally big dinners like that. There's a lot going on, a lot on the stove, a lot in the oven," he said. "Then they start talking to friends or family, and then before you know it, they've forgotten something on the stove or in the oven. So it's a lot more activity than probably most people are used to on an average cooking day."
Oliveira said spillage from the turkey pan is usually the culprit for many of the fires.
"You are dealing with grease," Oliveira said. "Most of the time, you can just cover the pans or close the oven door. That's going to stop any fire from getting larger, and in most cases, will put it out. We also remind people to have an extinguisher handy. If you're going to do a lot of cooking, have a home fire extinguisher ready for those accidents that could possibly happen. And remember, you're dealing with grease, you don't want to dump that in the sink and use water, because water and grease obviously don't mix. So what will happen is you'll actually spread the fire and make it bigger, instead of putting it out."
And if a fire does occur, don't panic.
"You've got to kind of keep your wits about you if a fire does happen," Oliveira said. "You've got to remember to use baking soda (to put out the fire), the extinguisher or cover it with a cover, and not to throw it in the sink and use water. Little tips like that. Just be as careful as possible."
In addition to fire calls, there are also an increased number of EMS emergencies as well.
"Burns are another thing that we want people to (be aware of)," he said. "There's a lot of cooking going on, and burns are going to happen."
Oliveira says one of the potential emergencies is easily avoidable, just by sharing some of those "secret recipes" with your guests.
"Allergies are another thing we tend to forget about," he said. "If you're cooking with something unusual, let your guests know, in case any of them has any kind of food allergy, whether it be nuts, seafood, things of that nature. We take that for granted, because you're not just cooking for your immediate family, you're cooking for maybe some other invited guests who you wouldn't normally be aware of that situation."
If you follow these simple safety tips, everyone can enjoy a safe and bountiful Thanksgiving dinner--even the firefighters themselves.
"We like to have a very safe period where everybody can enjoy their dinner," Oliveira said. "Even us."