The dos and don’ts of cooking a turkey


There’s a million and one ways to prepare your Thanksgiving feast; fire and rescue are urging people to just make sure it’s a safe one.

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“The number one case is usually that people are not watching what they’re cooking,” said Ralph Thomas, Firefighter, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue. “They step away, get distracted, a fire starts on a stove, and they’re not there to take care of it.”

Thomas recommends to:

  1. Avoid distractions
  2. Work in a clean space
  3. Encourage kids to play in other parts of the home
  4. Make sure your smoke alarms are working

But arguably, the greatest challenge comes from the table’s centerpiece.

“They’re generally cooking more things than what you’re typically cooking, so you might be a little overwhelmed,” Thomas said.

Whether it’s smoked, braised, grilled or fried, one wrong step, and you can end up with more than a burnt bird.

Fryers require heightened attention.

If a frozen turkey is dipped into the fryer, or the pot is filled too high with oil, a spectacular fire ball is almost a sure thing.

When dealing with a fryer, follow its directions closely and keep it outside and away from the home.

A fire traditionally doubles in size per minute, so having a fire extinguisher on hand can significantly reduce the damage, as you await the fire department.

“While it is a simple device to use, it can trip some people up, and they’re not sure how close they should get [or] how far they should get,” said David Denaburg, Firefighter/EMT. “The powder in the dry chemical extinguishers, which is most commonly sold, can be dangerous if it’s inhaled.”

So, make sure the first time you’re using the tool isn’t to put out a fire.

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