Editorial: Be cautious in the kitchen while preparing your Thanksgiving feast

On the night before Thanksgiving and the day of, many of our kitchens could double as disaster areas.

Dirtied pots and pans stacked in the sink. Mixing bowls covered in food. Flakes of pumpkin pie crust on the floor. Preparing a Thanksgiving feast for family and friends is a dirty job.

While you are busy cooking the turkey, dressing, sides and desserts that are part of your Thanksgiving tradition, it's important not to get sidetracked. Be mindful to be extra cautious while in the kitchen, as Thanksgiving is recognized as the peak day for home cooking fires.

"I am immensely thankful for our firefighters and first responders," said John F. King, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner. "However, we'd prefer if Georgians didn't have to call on these emergency officials this Thanksgiving, so please follow these simple fire safety tips as you prepare your family feast."

• Never deep-fry a frozen turkey. Ice turns to steam when a frozen turkey is dropped into hot oil, and the rapidly expanding steam can cause the oil to boil over.

• Don't forget to set a timer while you cook.

• Keep combustibles like towels and rags away from your cooking space.

• If a pan catches fire, cover it with a lid and turn off the burner. Water makes a grease fire worse, so consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen year-round.

• Turn pot handles inward to prevent an accident and ensure your children cannot grab them.

• Wear tight-fitting sleeves when you cook so that loose clothing does not contact a burner and catch on fire. If clothing does catch fire, don't forget the life-saving adage of "stop, drop and roll."

• Ensure that you have a working smoke alarm and change the batteries if you have not done so in six months.

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