Fire chief provides tips for holiday meal prep

Fire safety experts say improper use of a deep fryer could result in personal injury and property damage in a fire. To stay safe, fryers should only be used outdoors and away from wood decks, trees and other structures.

To help keep Northland families safe this Thanksgiving, Kearney Fire and Rescue Protection District Chief Kevin Pratt said there are few tips families should remember ahead of and while making the day’s big meal.

Frying turkeys

When frying a turkey, Pratt said there are several safety precautions that should be taken to prevent a residential fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more in-home fires during the holiday season than at any other time of the year and Thanksgiving is the single worst day for fires. An estimated 2,090 home fires were reported to fire departments around the United States on Thanksgiving 2016, according to the association.

“The first thing is to make sure the turkeys are completely thawed. If it’s not and you put that in a fryer, it will tend to boil over, and that’s bad,” he said. “Fryers are the most critical thing to make sure they get enough attention because they can lead to disaster pretty quick.”

Another tip, the fire chief said, is to be sure to use the appropriate amount of oil in a deep fryer. Fryer owners manuals and oil containers sold around this time of year generally include guidelines for the correct amount to use.

“You always want to be sure to not use a large fryer inside or around combustible and be sure that the fryer is always monitored,” he said.

In addition to making sure fryers are used outdoors, fire safety experts said fryers should not be used on wooden decks and should be used away from trees and other structures.

Food in ovens & on stoves

In addition to always keeping a deep fryer monitored, Pratt said home cooks should also stay in the kitchen to monitor food in ovens and on stoves, and to keep children away from hot surfaces.

“That will help prevent things like accidental burns,” he said.

Test smoke detectors

A key component in property and personal safety, Pratt said, is making sure a residence has working smoke detectors, in the event a fire does happen.

“You should make sure you test those smoke detectors, especially given that you should have replaced the batteries in them this week when the time changed with daylight saving time,” he said.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at or 903-6001.

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