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State Farm shares tips on holiday fire safety

According to State Farm claims data, more cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. In fact, grease and cooking-related claims more than double on Thanksgiving Day compared to an average day in November.

With the popularity of turkey frying, people are at risk for fryer related fires and injuries. U.S. fire departments are responding to more than 1,000 fires each year in which a deep fryer is involved. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says deep fryer fires result in more than $15 million in property damage each year and hot oil splatter can cause serious burns to an adult or life threatening injuries to a child.

State Farm regional spokesman, Gary Stephenson, of North Little Rock, said, “This year we went to the Duck Commander crew to assist us in getting a safety message out there. I’ve known the Robertson’s for years, and they are great cooks, especially Phil. And, they love deep fried turkeys. We approached them about a short video for youtube, and they agreed. The result was Uncle Si and Jase Robertson working with State Farm to produce the 1:40 film titled Hang on a Minute. It’s entertaining and very educational, cautioning viewers to “hang on a minute and think before you fry’.”

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. Based on data from State Farm, more cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. The good news is that State Farm cooking fire claims on Thanksgiving Day have been reduced from 66 claims in 2010 to 29 claims in 2012, the lowest number of claims in a decade.

While the reduction is significant, the fact remains there are still injuries and damage to property as a result of turkey frying or cooking fires each year. November is the number one month for grease and cooking related fire and December is the second highest month.

Stephenson said, “Arkansas is nowhere near the leader board in this ‘outdoor sport’. In the last eight years, State Farm, the state’s largest insurer of homes in the U.S., has had only one cooking related claim on Thanksgiving day in Arkansas, Colorado, and New Hampshire. These are the safest states in the nation for cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day since 2005.”

Stephenson added that although State Farm has had more Thanksgiving Day cooking fires in Texas than any other state, the good news is that only two such fires have occurred in the Lone Star state in the last two years.

Most turkey fryer and cooking fires are preventable. Recognizing common mistakes is a critical step in reducing your risk of a fire or potentially fatal burns. Before you break out your bird this holiday season, remember to hang on a minute and do it right.

Turkey Fryer Safety Tips

- More than one-third of fires involving a fryer start in a garage or patio. Cook outdoors at a safe distance from any buildings or trees and keep the fryer away from or off any wooden structures, such as a deck or patio.

- Avoid a hot oil spill over by first putting a thawed turkey into the pot and then filling with cold oil—just enough to cover the bird, to see how much will be needed. Then pull out the bird while you begin to heat the oil.

- Always make sure your turkey is properly thawed before lowering it slowly into the pot (icy turkeys are ‘explosive’).

- Shut off the flame when adding the turkey to the hot oil (and when removing it after frying) to prevent any potential flare-up or fire flash if any oil does spill over the rim.

- Never leave a hot turkey fryer unattended.

- Do not use ice or water to cool down oil or extinguish an oil fire.

- Keep an extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fire nearby.

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