COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - More than three times as many fires occur on Thanksgiving day than any other day of the year.
Thanksgiving is by far the leading day for U.S. home cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
First responders said it’s all about being prepared, knowing how to cook your turkey safely, and having a plan if a fire sparks.
Thanksgiving may look a little different during the coronavirus pandemic, but people in Columbus said they’re still keeping with the same menu.
“We’re going to try to keep it traditional,” Chelsi Gladney said. “We’re still getting the turkey fried and all the sides. We’re going to meet with some family, but not all.”
“Oh, we’re going to fry it this time,” said Jessica Taylor. “We’re going to try a new three-layer turkey.”
According to the NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires year round. Firefighters said ignorance is the biggest culprit, especially when frying a turkey outside.
“Basically, a lack of knowledge on how to actually cook a turkey,” said Lt. Bobby Southerland Jr. from the Columbus Fire Department. “You have to make sure the turkey is completely thawed out. It’s got to be outside on a firm sturdy platform.
Frying a turkey in particular can be extremely dangerous.
“It’s like a real big fryer, so when she drops the turkey, I make sure to step back because that grease will start flying everywhere,” Gladney said.
“My grandma is going to wear gloves, but I think she’s been doing it so long I don’t think she needs safety no more. She’s been popped by enough grease. It’s alright,” Taylor said.
If sparks start to fly inside or outside of your home this holiday season, remember this.
“Do not throw water on a grease fire. Try to smother it if you can. Obviously, get out, have two means of exit plans in and out of your house, call 911, and we’ll take it from there,” Southerland said.
Although some people are planning to fry their turkeys, the NFPA actually discourages it, saying it can cause a lot of problems, including fires or burns. They suggest getting your deep fried turkey from stores or restaurants.
Southerland also advises people to never leave cooking food unattended, and create a three-foot barrier between kids and pets and hot surfaces.
For an oven fire, turn off the heat, keep the door closed, and step aside. Only open the door once you’re confident the fire is completely out.