I suffered 3rd degree burns at 9 years old when I cooked breakfast for the first time as a surprise for my mother. I wasn’t strong enough to lift the cast iron skillet I cooked the bacon in and needed to empty the bacon grease from the pan before cooking scrambled eggs. I held the measuring cup while my sister poured the grease from the pan into the cup. At that age, I was unaware that the heat from the grease would cause the metal measuring cup that I was holding to instantaneously become hot.
I intended to pour the grease down the sink drain. Instead, in an instinctive reaction to holding onto a scorching object, I immediately flung the metal cup into the air. Sizzling hot bacon grease poured down my face and the front of my chest, scalding my skin.
I can’t imagine how horrific it must have been for my mother to awaken to the piercing sound of my high-pitched screams. I vaguely recall, in her panicked state, being thrown into a bathtub filled with cold water and her impaling me with ice cubes. Thanks to the healing properties of Vitamin E Oil, I barely have any scars. Luckily, nothing worse happened, like a stove or kitchen fire.
According to statistics gathered by the federal government, over 2,000 fires occur every Thanksgiving Day. More than 2/3 are a result of food catching on fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.” The NFPA also reports “there are nearly 4 times the amount of cooking fires on Thanksgiving than are any other typical day of the year.”
With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, many people plan to deep fry a turkey and for some, it will be their first time. However, the NFPA discourages against deep frying because “deep-fryer fires are responsible for 5 deaths, 60 injuries, destruction of 900 homes and $15 million in property damage per year”. The amount of cooking oil required to fully-immerse a turkey, combined with the oil’s high cooking temperature, pose a significant danger. The oil can quickly catch fire and the oil splatter, heat and flames often result in severe burns, other injuries and destruction of property.
Cooking safety is important year round. Follow these cooking safety tips anytime you are in the kitchen:
- Keep flammable items like dish towels, oven mitts, wooden spoons, flammable liquids and aerosol cans away from stove burners
- Do not attempt to put out a stove top fire without putting on oven mitts
- Turn off the heat source
- Cover pans with a lid or another pan.
- Never use a fire extinguisher or water to put out a grease or stove top fire
- Do not put metal containers or aluminum foil in microwaves as this can cause them to spark and catch fire
- Be aware that defrostIng food may heat or cook unevenly and lead to hot spots that can start a fire
- If food inside the microwave catches fire, unplug the microwave and do not allow oxygen in by opening the microwave oven door
- Never cook while sleepy or while consuming alcohol
- Do not allow children under the age of 14 to be in the kitchen cooking without adult supervision
- Move electrical cords from carving knives, appliances, and mixers out of the reach of small children
- Always stay in the kitchen while cooking or using a microwave so you can see, hear and smell if something isn’t right before a fire breaks out
Please take extra safety precautions while cooking this Thanksgiving!
For recipes on how to brine a turkey so that your turkey is moist and juicy, check out these recipes on how to brine a turkey posted by The Food Network: brined turkey recipes
Jenee’ Child, is CEO of SOS Solutions. For more home safety tips and to download our E-Book “Are You Safe In Your Home?”, go to SOS Solutions’ website at www.TrustSOS.Solutions. SOS Solutions provides free help to homeowners in scheduling and managing water, mold, fire, smoke deodorization and emergency restoration contractors.