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Northshore Fire Department offers Thanksgiving safety tips

According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), cooking is the leading cause of residential structural fires on Thanksgiving, and the chances of injuries and burns are increased. The Northshore Fire Department reminds the public to be careful this holiday season, and to follow these safety reminders:

• Due to the improper storing, cooking and serving of turkey, sometimes the growth of harmful bacteria such as salmonella, which can cause food borne illness, may occur.

• Be cautious about hygiene and cleanliness while cooking, washing and storing food. Make sure the preparation area is clean and you have used a disinfectant before and after cooking.

• Turn pot handles inward, away from the edge of the stove when cooking.

• Don't wear long, loose sleeves that can hang over the stove while cooking.

• Do not leave stove unattended and have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen area.

• To prevent burns, always remember to use oven mitts in the kitchen whenever you are going to handle items cooked in the oven or on top of the stove.

• Be sure to have working smoke alarms in your home. Make sure your family is familiar with your home fire-escape plan.

• Finally, candles are the No. 1 fire starter in the month of December. Watch them carefully, never leave unattended and keep them at least one foot away from things that can catch fire, like clothing, books and curtains. Use holders that are study, won't tip over easily, and are made from a material that cannot burn.

Turkey deep fryers are becoming popular choices to cook the Thanksgiving bird. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil. These turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures, and units currently available for home use pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process. The use of turkey fryers by consumers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property. NFPA urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out professional establishments, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants for the preparation of the dish, or consider a new type of "oil-less" turkey fryer." However, if you plan to deep fry a turkey, there are safety tips on the Northshore Fire Department's Web site.

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