By Tess Malijenovsky
A live fire demonstration took place at the Burton Fire Department on Monday, November 21, to illustrate the proper way to handle a stove fire on Thanksgiving. “Cooking fires are the leading cause of fires nationally, statewide and locally, thus there is no more dangerous a holiday than Thanksgiving,” said Daniel Byrne, firefighter and Community Support officer for Burton fire district.
Firefighter Lee Levesque first demonstrated how to put out a stove fire by covering it with a pan lid to suffocate the fire. You can also use a cookie sheet, which will protect you like a shield.
One of the biggest misconceptions about oil fires is with the use of water, water will actually spread the fire, rather than put it out. On behalf of Beaufort County firefighters, Byrne said: “We would like to encourage the use of fire extinguishes, get them out from under the sink and get them mounted at eye level by an exit or where people can see it and grab it.”
The next demonstration was how to put out an oil fire with a fire extinguisher. “Having a good fire extinguisher and smoke detector is the cheapest life insurance you can get for your family,” said Levesque. He recommends every household have one; if you don’t have one in case of an oil fire, leave the house immediately and call the fire department.
The Safety Education Team (SET team) presenting the live fire demonstrations is an educational branch of the Beaufort County Fire Chief’s Association, representing Bluffton, Burton, Fripp Island, Hilton Head, Lady’s Island/St. Helena, and Sheldon fire departments.
So if your family plans on frying up a turkey this Thanksgiving, be sure to review the safety procedures below on how to handle the fire:
• Check all hoses and connections from fuel tanks for proper fitting and for rotting and cracks.
• Oil and water do not mix. Never lower a frozen or partially thawed turkey into a fryer as this may cause the hot oil to over flow. The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator. Use paper towels to dry your turkey off as much as possible and lower your turkey in slowly.
• Always cook outdoors. Place your fryer at least 15 feet from your home and on stable ground.
• Create a 3-foot safety zone around your fryer for children and pets. Be sure to use heavy-duty mitts when cooking and wear a long sleeve shirt.
• Never leave the fryer unattended as overflowing oils only take seconds to ignite. Make sure you have an ABC rated fire extinguisher available and ready to use. Never use a water hose on a fire that involves cooking oils.
By Tess Malijenovsky