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Cooking fires make Thanksgiving dangerous, Augusta rescuers warn

Thanksgiving turkey
Thanksgiving turkey(WRDW)
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 2:40 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2021 at 3:12 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With so much cooking going on during Thanksgiving, it’s the most dangerous day of the year when it comes to cooking fires. And it’s also likely to affect your utility bills.

Since 2018, Augusta firefighters have responded to four fire calls on Thanksgiving. Three of those responses were cooking-related.

“It is well-known that unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires during Thanksgiving, so there’s no better time to focus on safety,” said Fire Chief/EMA Director Antonio Burden. “What we’re asking people to do is be alert so they can prevent these potential risks from becoming something more dangerous.”

One of the most useful tips from firefighters is that if you have to leave the cooking area, take a large spoon or potholder as a reminder.

Here are some other tips:

  • Make sure an adult is in the kitchen and watching the food while it’s cooking.
  • Give yourself time and space. Children should not be in the kitchen and don’t rush to finish the food.
  • Never fry or cook a frozen or partially frozen turkey. It takes one day to thaw 5 pounds of turkey in the refrigerator. Plan accordingly.
  • If you fry a turkey, make sure the fryer is at least 6 feet away from any structure.
  • Know how to stop a grease fire. Be prepared. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in case you need to smother a grease fire. Turn off the heat source, and move it away from the hot area. Also, have a fire extinguisher nearby and never use water to put out a grease fire.

Fires aren’t the only concern when it comes to Thanksgiving cooking. There’s also the matter of costs.

Georgia Power is offering some energy efficiency tips that you can take advantage of when cooking and hosting guests:

  • Keep your oven door shut as your turkey cooks. Even opening the door for a glimpse can set the temperature back, causing your oven to go into overdrive and work harder. Cook multiple dishes at one time in the oven, if possible.
  • Use glass and ceramic baking dishes, which retain heat better than metal, allowing you to reduce the oven temperature by up to 25 degrees.
  • Utilize your stovetop, where many of your holiday favorites can be made with less energy than the oven. Remember to keep your pots and pans covered to prevent heat loss and to keep your burners clean.
  • Your microwave oven can be used to quickly and efficiently heat or reheat many items, and it also uses much less energy than a conventional oven.
  • If you fry your turkey, consider a multi-function electric turkey fryer, which involves no flames. Always follow all manufacturer instructions when using a gas or electric fryer.
  • Install a smart programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the home’s temperature settings when you’re away from the house and save up to $100 a year in energy costs. Keeping your home at 68 degrees in the cooler months will also help you save money on your monthly bill. If you’ll have a crowded house for Thanksgiving with stoves and ovens in use, you can often lower the thermostat by several degrees and still be comfortable.

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