Putnam Officials Share Thanksgiving Cooking Safety Tips

CARMEL, N.Y. – Staying safe this Thanksgiving Day starts in the kitchen. Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Services Anthony Sutton urge residents to take the proper precautions when preparing your Thanksgiving feast.

“Families come together on Thanksgiving to give thanks and create memories,” said Odell. “We want to make sure those are happy and safe memories.”

Thanksgiving Day is the No. 1 day for home cooking fires. The average number of home fires on Thanksgiving is normally double the average number of fires in homes all other days.

“Being prepared and staying alert are the most important things you can do on Thanksgiving,” said Sutton. “It is better to take your time and be cautious than it is lose focus or take on too much at one time.”

Sutton recommends these safety cooking tips from the U.S. Fire Administration:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking – frying, broiling or boiling – at high temperatures.
    • Make your cooking area safe. Move things that can burn away from the stove. Turn pot handles toward the back so they can’t be bumped.
    • Watch what you are cooking. Use a timer when roasting a turkey or baking.
    • Be prepared. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in case you need to smother a pan fire.
    • Stay awake and alert while you’re cooking. If you see smoke or the grease starts to boil in your pan, turn the burner off.
    • Prevent burns. Wear short sleeves when you cook, or roll them up. Don’t lean over the burner. Use potholders and oven mitts to handle hot cookware.

Frying a turkey is a popular trend that can be dangerous. The following are things to remember when frying a turkey:

  • Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
    • An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot.
    • Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
    • Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
    • The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot.