Thanksgiving Day safety: Fire Rescue shares prevention tips

To avoid a dangerous eruption, don’t deep-fry a frozen turkey, firefighters say

Firefighters want to prevent burns by sharing safety tips such as keeping a fire extinguisher near.

MIAMI – Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is sharing safety tips on Wednesday to help prevent Thanksgiving Day injuries while dealing with the turkey.

Firefighters are asking residents to never leave the fryer unattended while in use, keep children and pets away from it, and place the fryer at least 10 feet away from anything flammable.

They are also asking cooks to wear protective gear, avoid overfilling the fryer with oil, and to remember that oil and water don’t mix, so the turkey needs to fully thaw and be patted dry before frying.

The fryer shortly after a frozen turkey was lowered inside

“Everyone that you invite you should ask them about their food allergies,” said Maggie Castro, a paramedic, adding that those who suffer small burns while cooking need to avoid ice, which can cause tissue damage.

Instead, Castro said the person needs to apply clean cool water to the burn until the pain subsides. If a person suffers a small cut, Castro said to also apply clean water and wrap it with loose gauze.


Safety tips in the kitchen

Raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches with harmful bacteria, so clean, separate, cook, and chill. Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling the turkey.

Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey. Never place cooked food or fresh produce on a plate, cutting board, or another surface that previously held raw turkey.

Wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing the turkey and before you prepare the next item.

Thaw turkey

Experts with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ask cooks to never thaw their turkey by leaving it out on the counter because bacteria can grow rapidly. The “danger zone” is between 40 to 140 degrees.

A thawing turkey can defrost in the refrigerator in a container or in the microwave. It can also be in a leak-proof plastic bag in the sink with ice-cold water and the water needs to be changed every 30 minutes.

Cook stuffing thoroughly

The food thermometer must indicate the stuffing’s center reaches 165 degrees. Bacteria can survive in lower temperatures and cause food poisoning. CDC experts recommend cooking the stuffing in a casserole dish.

Cook turkey thoroughly

Set the oven temperature to at least 325 degrees. Use a food thermometer to make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees in the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint.

Take care of leftovers

Bacteria grows in cooked foods and can cause food poisoning with symptoms such as vomiting and abdominal cramps within 6 to 24 hours after eating.

Refrigerate leftovers at 40 degrees or colder as soon as possible and slice or divide big cuts of meat into smaller quantities for refrigeration. Before serving, experts recommend reheating at 165 degrees or higher.

USDA on turkey safety (USDA)

Source: CDC Food Safety

About the Authors:

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.