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November 20, 2012

Fire officials encourage Thanksgiving safety

With Thanksgiving week officially upon us, area fire departments are at the ready as locals fire up ovens and deep fryers to prepare those annual holiday feasts.

The most important things to remember, according to Cullman Fire Marshal Chris Chaffin? Just be careful and take your time in the kitchen — and if you’re frying a turkey, make absolutely sure it’s thawed. Turkey fryers can be extremely dangerous if used incorrectly.

“For anybody using turkey fryers, definitely read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to cook the turkey,” he said. “You need to be familiar with it and not try to figure it out the day you open the box. Those are not to be used inside, even inside a garage. They need to be away from the house 10-15 feet away. Stay with it the entire time and make sure turkey is completely thawed, or else it will boil over and catch about anything nearby on fire.”

With the stress of travel and family visits, Chaffin noted basic safety can sometimes get lost in the scramble to prepare a meal. But, he reminds local cooks that those extra few minutes for safety can go a long way in preventing everything from an injury to a house fire.

“It’s a very busy time of year with family and friends trying to run here and there, and anyone cooking in the family will likely be stressed out to make sure all the food is done,” he said. “You need to always have someone in the kitchen when food is cooking just to keep an eye on things. Never leave the house to run an errand while the turkey is cooking.”

Chaffin also noted an active kitchen can be a dangerous place for children, and encourages everyone to keep kids clear if at all possible.

“A kitchen is no place for children and it’s not a safe play area,” he said. “Remember to keep them away from stoves or hot cooking areas, and make sure cords, knobs and anything like electric knifes are pushed far enough back to be out of reach. Also, if you’re burning candles for ambiance, never leave kids alone in a room with a lit candle ... It’s just not worth it to get in too much of a hurry and risk someone getting hurt.”

Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.

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