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Tips to keep you safe for Thanksgiving

Airman 1st Class Daniel Morgan quickly backs away from a grease fire during the Turkey Fryer Fire demonstration at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., Nov. 22, 2011. In less than five seconds, flames completely engulfed the pot and the supporting structure, representing the severity of what can happen when someone attempts to fry a turkey that has not been properly unthawed. Morgan, a driver operator with the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron fire services flight, hails from Idahla Falls, Idaho. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marissa Tucker)

A turkey fryer fire demonstration at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., Nov. 22, 2011. In less than five seconds, flames completely engulfed the pot and the supporting structure, representing the severity of what can happen when someone attempts to fry a turkey that has not been properly thawed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marissa Tucker)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Preparing for the Thanksgiving can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be dangerous. 

Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for U.S. home cooking fires, according to National Fire Protection Association, with three times more fires than any other typical day during the year.

In 2017, there were 1,600 reported home fires, which is 238% over the daily average. The leading cause: Unattended cooking.

Here are some tips to keep you safe from fire in the kitchen:

• Keep a close watch on your cooking. Never leave cooking food unattended.
• Have a "kid-free zone" of at least three-feet around the stove and areas where hot foods or drinks are prepared.
• Keep packaging and other combustibles away from burners and heat sources.
• Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stove top. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
• Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are 10 years old or older.
• Any time a fire extinguisher is discharged, call your local fire department for notification purposes.

In addition to general fire safety around the kitchen, deep-fried turkeys have quickly grown in popularity. However, Fire and Emergency Services officials warn not to sacrifice fire safety for good taste. 

If you plan on using one in an authorized location, use the following safety tips:

• Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance not less than 25 feet from buildings or other flammable materials.
• Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
• Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
• To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
• 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 or even an explosion hazard.
• 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 dial 911 for help.