“Be safe that oil is extremely hot.” Warning from firefighters about kitchen safety during the holidays

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NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) People are preparing for a different Thanksgiving this year. But safety experts say one thing doesn’t change – being careful in the kitchen.

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires, and they can be deadly.

New Bern Fire-Rescue wants you to take extra precautions when preparing your holiday meal:

  • If you feel sleepy or have had any alcohol…Don’t cook.
  • Always stay in the kitchen if you have things on the stove or in the oven.
  • Use a timer when preparing your meal.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire away from your stovetop like oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels, and even curtains.

“Your family members are your prized positions and their lives are the most important. By taking some simple steps in the kitchen you can protect those lives at home, especially during the holidays,” said Dep. Fire Marshal Jeremy Blalock, New Bern Fire-Rescue.

Cooking fires reach their peak at Thanksgiving and Christmas, averaging more than 500 deaths, close to 5,000 injuries, and more than $1 billion in property damage each year.

Every year there are close to 173,000 house fires started by cooking. Many of those fires happen during mishaps while frying turkeys. Firefighters say if you’re doing this frying, make sure:

  • You’re outside and away from the house.
  • Avoid this frying on a wooden porch or deck, or under an overhang.
  • Experts say it’s vital to follow your cooking instructions to the last detail.
  • Also, don’t fry your turkey frozen or even partially frozen. Doing that may cause the oil to splatter and overflow.

“Be safe that oil is extremely hot. We want to make sure that you have no kids around you slowly lower that turkey into that pot and keep safe distances away from everything,” said Blalock.

You should have a working smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher in your home. Also, have a working carbon monoxide detector if you have gas appliances.

It may be fun to involve kids in thanksgiving preparations but experts suggest you make the kitchen a kid-free zone, keeping them at least three feet away from the stove, hot food or drinks being prepared.

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