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Fire department tips help prevent holiday cooking mishaps

Thanksgiving day is here and the Boulder City Fire Department has a few helpful fire prevention tips for the holidays.

Over 2,000 cooking fires are reported each year on Thanksgiving, according to the United States Fire Administration, so knowing how to stay safe could go a long way to ensure that the entire family has a fun and flame-free holiday.

Boulder City Fire Chief Kevin Nicholson said that following these quick and easy safety tips will help residents celebrate a fun and safe thanksgiving.

“These are simple and important steps that will can help you have an incident-free Thanksgiving,” he said. “I don’t just want to highlight one thing because everything on this list is important safety aspect.”

Nicholson also wished everyone a happy and safe holiday season from him and the fire department.

Cooking in the kitchen

n Keep a close watch on your cooking. You should never leave cooking food unattended.

n Keep food packaging and other combustibles away from burners and heat sources.

n Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly.

n Don’t wear loose sleeves while working over hot stove burners — they can melt, ignite or catch on handles of pots and pans spilling hot oil and other liquids.

n Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot foods or drinks are prepared or carried.

n Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

Tips for deep frying a turkey

n Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.

n Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.

n Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

n Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.

n Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.

n To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.

n Use well-insulated pot holders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.

n Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard. The National Turkey Federation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds in weight.

n Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.

Contact reporter Max Lancaster at mlancaster @bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @MLancasterBCR.

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