Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

McKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) –  Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment, according to the McKinney Fire Department.

Many injuries occur as a result of cooking fires, spills of hot liquid, or exposure to steam. The McKinney Fire Department wants your family to celebrate safely!

• Always stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop.
• Stay in the home when cooking a turkey or other items in the oven. Check on baking or roasting items frequently.
• Keep children and pets away from the stove and other cooking appliances. Enforce a three foot “safe” zone.
• Keep the floor clear and clean to avoid slipping or tripping over children, pets, toys, purses, shopping bags, etc.
• An adult must always be in a room with lit candles. Keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children. Use battery powered candles if possible.
• Be sure that electric cords from appliances are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child, or where someone could accidentally catch the cord when passing.
• Make sure smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
In recent years, many residents deep fry the Thanksgiving turkey. While this method speeds the cooking process and produces a moist, tasty centerpiece for your feast, turkey fryers are considered extremely dangerous by many safety experts and most fire departments.
If you choose to fry your turkey, only use your fryer outdoors, a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials. Never move the turkey fryer into a garage or other building, or onto a wooden deck or other flammable surface. And, make sure the fryer is on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

Stacie Durham, spokesperson for the McKinney Fire Department cautions, “Many turkey fryers don’t have thermostat controls. If you aren’t careful, the oil in the unit will continue to heat until it catches fire. Never leave the unit unattended.”

Other safety tips include:

• Never let children or pets near the fryer, even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot will remain dangerously hot for hours after use.
• To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
• Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
• Wear safe clothing. No loose sleeves, aprons, and other items that may encounter flames or heat sources.
• 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 and possibly an explosion.
• The National Turkey Federation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
• Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.
“The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. Since the majority of home fires are cooking related, safety in the kitchen should be a priority every day, not just during the holidays. Following a few simple rules can increase your family’s safety,” commented Durham.

If you would like to schedule a home fire safety inspection by the McKinney Fire Department or if you have questions relating to fire and life safety, call 972-547-2850 or email contact-fire@mckinneytexas.org

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)