Tips to prevent a house fire on Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23, 2016
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The Orange County Fire Authority demonstrated the proper way to deep fry a turkey for Thanksgiving.

TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) -- Fire officials hoped to prevent an avoidable disaster on Thanksgiving by properly showing people how to deep fry turkeys.

The Orange County Fire Authority demonstrated what could go wrong if someone doesn't know what they're doing.

Flames shot 10 to 12 feet high as a firefighter in protective gear quickly dropped a frozen turkey into the hot oil of a deep fryer.

"When you heat a pot of oil, it heats to over 400 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas water only heats up to a little over 200 degrees Fahrenheit," Capt. Larry Kurtz with the Orange County Fire Authority explained.

"What happens is when that water hits the oil it flash boils. It creates a mist and some of that oil gets pulled up with the mist and what you get is a gasoline type explosion," he continued.

Firefighters also urged cooks to watch how much oil is being used to prevent overflow. The OCFA said people should keep their deep fryer at least 10 feet away from their home or any other structure that could burn.

Despite the warnings, fire officials said the number of cooking fires nearly triples on Thanksgiving. The dangers are not just related to deep frying.

"Scald burns such as grease burns, hot soup burns, coffee, teas," Dr. Andrea Dunkelman with the Orange County Burn Center said. "These are also the most common burns seen in children under 4."

If someone suffers a burn from liquids, health officials said it's critical to remove the clothing from the affected area immediately, apply room-temperature water and go to the nearest burn center.

Officials warned to not apply ice or other freezing substances to the burn area.

When it comes to flammable decorations, especially candles, firefighters warned to never leave them unattended and to use flameless alternatives if possible.

"Use flameless candles. They're safe, they don't create any heat and they look just as good," Kurtz said.