ALBANY — As New Yorkers emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re are looking forward to gathering with their friends and families again.

With Thanksgiving a few short days away, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York is urging everyone to follow basic cooking safety tips in order to keep everyone safe.

Thanksgiving is a peak day for home cooking fires. Data from the National Fire Protection Association shows that Thanksgiving chefs experienced 1,630 home cooking fires in 2018, the most of any day throughout the year.

“Fire departments across the state have responded to an increased number of home kitchen fires since the beginning of the COVID pandemic,“ said FASNY President John P. Farrell in a news release. “With many people staying home, increased meal preparations and added distractions can lead to fires. We urge all New Yorkers to follow some simple safety tips to avoid a holiday accident.”

According to the National Fire Prevention Association), home cooking is one of the leading contributing factors in home fires and fire deaths. New York state is currently fifth in the nation in home fire deaths, with 85 recorded this year.

One of the more notable safety risks is deep-frying turkeys. Doing so can be extremely dangerous and can lead to serious burns and property damage.

If an individual decides to use a turkey fryer, they should ensure that the turkey is completely thawed before frying. The fryer should also only be used outside and away from any structures and flammable objects.

“When preparing your holiday feast, please remember Thanksgiving is one of the top days for home fires,” Farrell said. “We want all New Yorkers to enjoy their time together this Thanksgiving. On behalf of FASNY, I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.”

FASNY and the National Fire Protection Agency Provide the following tips:

n Remain in the kitchen while cooking. Whether you’re frying, grilling, baking or broiling food, it’s always a good idea to supervise cooking directly.

Most cooking fires involve the stovetop, so keep anything that can catch fire away from it, and turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen, even if it’s for “just a second.” A second is all it takes for a house fire to start.

n If you’re simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind yourself that you’re cooking.

n For homes with children, have the kids remain outside the kitchen area while food is being prepared. Pets should also be kept out of the kitchen while cooking. The safest chef is an undistracted chef!

n Make sure your smoke detectors are functioning by pressing the “test” button. If needed, replace the batteries — and if not functioning after testing, install brand-new smoke alarms.

n Deep-frying turkeys is extremely dangerous, especially when done without care.

If a turkey fryer must be used, follow these tips

Turkey fryers can easily tip over spilling hot oil across a large area. Use your turkey fryer only outdoors on a sturdy, level surface well away from things that can burn.

Make sure to have a “3-foot kid- and pet-free zone” around your turkey fryer to protect against burn injuries.

An overfilled cooking pot will cause oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside. Determine the correct amount of oil needed by first placing the turkey in the pot with water.

A partially frozen turkey will cause hot oil to splatter. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed before you fry it.

Turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire. Check the temperature often with a cooking thermometer so the oil won’t overheat.

The pot, lid, and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries. Use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms when you handle these items.

For more information, visit www.fasny.com.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1