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Red Cross & Northwest Fire offer Thanksgiving safety tips

"There are many hazards associated with Thanksgiving." - Captain Adam Goldberg, Public Information Officer for Pima County's Northwest Fire District

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries in the U.S., and unattended cooking is the primary contributing factor. Nationally, the American Red Cross responds to a fire approximately every nine minutes, and last year the Southern Arizona Chapter responded to more than 200 home fires in its five-county area.

"There are many hazards associated with Thanksgiving," explains Captain Adam Goldberg, Public Information Officer for Pima County's Northwest Fire District. "People are distracted by visitors and holiday activities, and may forget basics like setting the timer on the stove and keeping an eye on the oven."

Northwest Fire District offers the following Thanksgiving safety tips.

Kitchen and Cooking:

  • The kitchen is a very busy place on Thanksgiving. Keep the area as organized as possible. Kids and dogs should have different areas within the house or outside to play.
  • Always monitor any cooking activities. Combustibles such as dish towels and potholders/mitts should be kept clear of hot surfaces. Never leave oil cooking unsupervised.
  • Pan handles should be turned inward so the risk of bumping them and spilling hot contents is reduced.
  • Raw food (especially the turkey) should never be left out. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper thawing and food handling.
  • Turkey Frying

    An increasing number of Thanksgiving home fires is attributed to the growing trend to deep fry turkeys.

  • Have a dry-chemical, general purpose fire extinguisher at the ready in the event of a fire.
  • Make sure the fryer is on level ground and away from any buildings.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed --- the ice crystals in an unthawed turkey can cause the hot oil to spill over, which can trigger a fire or an explosion hazard. The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight (four days for a 20-lb turkey).
  • Measure the amount of oil you will need by first placing the turkey into the pot with water. Measure the water to know how much oil you will need based on the size of your turkey. Dry the turkey thoroughly afterward---water and oil don't mix!
  • Kids and pets should never be near the fryer.
  • Always observe the frying process. Never leave a fryer un-attended while in use.