Annapolis Fire Department

Annapolis Fire Department Media Release

Fire Chief

David L. Stokes, Sr.

Contact Person:
Fire Marshal Office
Phone: 410-263-7975

Cooking Safety

For Immediate Release
November 16, 2018

Annapolis Fire Department Urges Cooking Safety

(Annapolis, MD) – Holiday seasons bring a spirit of togetherness and family, and of course food.  Large meals are a common place and bind a family or friends together in celebration of the holiday season. The Annapolis Fire Department urge you to practice safe cooking, not only in the approaching holiday season, but year round.  Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires in the United States.  Below are some safety tips from the Annapolis Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to help you stay fire safe in the kitchen.

Cooking Safety Tips

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stove top.
  • Keep the stove top, oven, and burners clean.
  • Keep a 3-foot (1 meter) kid-free zone around your cooking area. 
  • If you have a cooking fire, when in doubt, just get out and call the fire department.
  • If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool. 
  • If a fire starts in the oven, turn off the oven and leave the door closed. The oven should be checked and/or serviced before being used again. 
  • To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.
Turkey Fryer

Turkey Fryers

In recent years deep-frying turkeys has become increasingly popular especially during the holiday seasons.  Annapolis Fire Chief David L. Stokes Sr.  warns of the dangers of deep-fat turkey fryers.  “These devices can be very dangerous as they have a high risk of tipping over, overheating, or spilling hot oil that could lead to fires, burns, or other injuries”, says Chief Stokes. “In deep frying, oil is heated to temperatures of 350 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Cooking oil is combustible, and if it is heated beyond its cooking temperature, its vapors can ignite.” This is a fire danger separate from the burn danger inherent in the hot oil. Overheating can occur if temperature controls, which are designed to shut off the fryer if the oil overheats, are defective, or if the appliance has no temperature controls.

The NFPA discourages the use of outdoor, gas-fueled turkey fryers and warns that the use of turkey fryers by consumers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property. NFPA urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out professional establishments, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants for the preparation of the dish, or consider a new type of "oil-less" turkey fryer."
If you are compelled to use deep-fat turkey fryers keep these important safety tips in mind:

  • Stay Away from the House – Set up the turkey fryer more than 10 feet away from your home and keep children and pets away. Never leave it unattended.
  • Find Flat Ground – The oil must be even and steady at all times to ensure safety. Place the fryer on a flat, level surface and carefully gauge the amount of oil needed.
  • Use a Thawed and Dry Turkey – Make sure your Thanksgiving turkey is completely thawed and dry. Extra water will cause the oil to bubble furiously and spill over. If oil spills from the fryer onto the burner, it will cause a fire.
  • Monitor the Temp – Use caution when touching the turkey fryer. The lid and handle can become very hot and could cause burns. Also be sure to keep track of the oil’s temperature as many fryers do not have their own thermostats.
  • Be Prepared – Have a fire extinguisher (multipurpose, dry-powder) ready at all times in the event that the oil ignites and call 911.

Following the simple safety tips above will help you have a holiday season that is filled with good food, cheer, and fire safety.  If you would like additional information about cooking safety, or any other fire safety topic, please contact the Annapolis Fire Department at 410-263-7975, or visit us at

End of Release (Ken White #400)

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