Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
4100 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Phone: 703-246-3801, TTY: 711 and Fax:703-385-1687
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-280-0694
Media Information Line: 703-324-3000
Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and cooking is a highlight as millions of people across the United States come together to share food and good cheer. Cooking is by far the leading cause of residential structure fires on Thanksgiving Day. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), each year nearly 4,300 fires in the United States occur on Thanksgiving Day causing an average of 15 deaths, about 50 injuries, and nearly $27 million in property damage. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would like you to remain vigilant inside and outside the kitchen when cooking this holiday season.
If you absolutely must use a turkey fryer, here are some tips for safer use:
- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors at a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.
- Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.
- Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don’t watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, 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. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing, and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
- Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire.
- Keep anything that can catch fire—potholders, towels, or curtains—away from your stovetop.
- Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
- Always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not remove the lid until it is completely cool.
- If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing. Have the oven serviced before you use it again.
For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Lieutenant Raúl G. Castillo, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711. Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.