IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Many are staying home for Thanksgiving to stay safe from COVID-19, but now we are being reminded that we also need to stay safe in the kitchen.
Cooking a turkey is an American Thanksgiving tradition, but it's also the nation's leading day for cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).
Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center's (EIRMC) Burn Unit is reminding turkey chefs that the kitchens can be a dangerous place, especially for young ones.
Medical Burn Director, Dr. Michael Lemon tells us when it comes to burn injuries, the kitchen is the most hazardous place in the home.
He says, Thanksgiving festivities only add to the risk of tragedy.
"With our government restrictions, more people are going to be at home and more people are going to attempt cooking than they have done so in the past. We know that children are statistically at a higher risk for scalds burn," Lemon said.
While enjoying your Thanksgiving, we are reminded that the kitchen is not a place to play.
Dr. Lemon suggests establishing a three-foot kid-free zone in the kitchen or cooking area.
"Set a barrier where children should stay out of or put up a gate. The same kind of a gate that we use to protect kids from going downstairs could be protecting the kitchen," Lemon said.
As many get ready to bring the heat to their Thanksgiving feast we are asked to stay focus while cooking to reduce the risks brought on by a homemade turkey dinner.
For those tasked with preparing a hot meal this holiday, (EIRMC) suggests taking the following preventative actions to ensure everyone remains safe:
- Stay alert and avoid cooking while under the influence of medications or alcohol.
- Use timers to track cooking times and never leave cooking food unattended.
- Keep items like potholders and food containers away from stove eyes and other hot surfaces.
- Cook on back burners and make sure all pot handles are turned toward the inside of the stove.
- If you do have a grease fire, use a pot or pan lid to smother or cover it. DO NOT use water to try to put it out!
- Never try to carry or walk with a burning pot or pan.
To the turkey frying enthusiasts, (EIRMC) asks that you please take into consideration the following precautions to help make the process safer:
- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials. Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
- Make sure the deep fryer has a thermostat to regulate the temperature of the oil, otherwise the oil will continue to increase in temperature.
- Use only peanut or canola oils in the fryer.
- Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly.
- Turkeys should be less than 12 lbs., and 8-10 lbs. turkeys are often the most appropriate size.
- Check the turkey to make sure it is not partially frozen and does not have any excess water on it. The water can cause hot oil to splatter.
- Slowly lower the turkey into the pot to avoid spillage.
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles.
- Make sure a fire extinguisher that can put out a grease fire is nearby just in case an accident occurs.
- Remember that it may take several hours for the oil in a deep fryer to cool.
- Always call 911 in the event of a fire.