The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department wants to remind the public there are certain precautions that should be taken when preparing holiday meals. Residents are also reminded to make sure they have a working fire extinguisher within easy reach. Unused fire extinguishers should be replaced every 10 years, or if the pressure gauge indicates that it needs to be changed. If you are preparing a meal with a turkey fryer or a roasting box known as a Caja China, it should be placed outdoors a safe distance from any building and away from any other material that can burn.
When preparing your holiday meal, follow these safety tips:
- Keep your hands and cooking utensils clean.
- Make sure the dishes you use in the microwave, standard oven and dishwasher are marked that they are safe for that use. Even in the dishwasher, a non-approved plate can cause a fire.
- Do not turn up the heat in the oven to speed up turkey-cooking time. This is a fire hazard.
- Don’t leave any cooking unattended. Statistics show this is the number one cause of house fires in the nation.
If using a Turkey Fryer, follow these safety tips:
- Never use Turkey Fryers on wooden decks or in a garage.
- Make sure the fryer is used on a flat surface to reduce tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don’t watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer while in use. Even after use, use caution; the oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot for hours.
- Do not overfill the fryer.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix, and water causes oil to spill over, creating a fire or even an explosion hazard.
If using a roasting box known as a Caja China, follow these safety tips:
- Never use instant charcoal.
- Never use charcoal on the center tray. Once lit, distribute the charcoal throughout the tray.
- Use only starter fluid; never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.
- Never attempt to re-start a flame by adding additional starter fluid to an already-lit grill. This can cause a flare-up.
- Dispose of charcoal away from children and pets, and cool it down with a hose. Coals are hot: up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
For more information, please contact MDFR’s Public Affairs Bureau at 786-331-5200.