Burn center sees increase in incidents around Thanksgiving - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Experts warn of burn risks during Thanksgiving

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Experts stress cooking safety over the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year, according to State Farm. The insurer cited the National Fire Protection Association about deep fryer fires resulting in more than $15 million in property damage each year.

The Joseph M. Still Burn Centers Inc. says it sees an increase in the number of burn patients  around the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

The center warns those preparing holiday meals to prepare and make the kitchen a children-free zone before the cooking starts.

"If there is a common thread among the majority of our burn patients, it is that they let their guard down for just a second," said Dr. Fred Mullins, who serves as the president of Joseph M. Still Burn Centers, Inc., and the medical director of the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, GA – the largest burn center in America. "Whether they got a little distracted making dinner or were careless in the kitchen, the results can be devastating."

The center stresses safety and offers tips for frying turkeys.

It recommends buying a turkey that is less than 12 lbs. The most important factor in frying a turkey is keeping the cooking oil in the pot low because if oil spills over the side and into the flame, it will start a fire.

To figure out how to get the right amount of oil in the pot, but the turkey in an empty put. Then slowly fill the pot with water and when it reaches 2 inches above the turkey, remove the turkey and measure that water level, according to Mullins. Then use that measurement for the oil.

The burn center offered these tips for frying turkeys:  

Check the turkey to make sure it is not partially frozen and does not have any excess water on it. Water can cause hot oil to splatter. Pat down the bird with a paper towel to get rid of excess moisture.

  • Use the fryer on a well-ventilated, level and outdoor surface.
  • Never leave the pot unattended.
  • Keep children and pets at a safe distance from the fryer.
  • Use only peanut, canola or safflower oils in the fryer.
  • Make sure the deep fryer has a thermostat to regulate the temperature of the oil.
  • Slowly lower the turkey into the pot to avoid spillage.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case a grease fire breaks out.
  • Never use water to try to extinguish a grease or oil fire.
  • Always call 911 in the event of a fire.
  • It may take several hours for the oil in a deep fryer to cool.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol drinking when using a deep-fryer.

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