How to cook safely this Thanksgiving

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Whether you’re cooking a 20-pound turkey or smaller Cornish hens this Thanksgiving, medical professionals are urging you to be extremely careful in the kitchen. Cooking fires and injuries happen the most during the holiday season. One of the most common injuries are burns.

The Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta is the largest burn center in the country. Its healthcare professionals have seen their fair share of cooking accidents.

“You should come to the hospital if you sustain burns to your hands, feet or face, or if you have uncontrollable pain,” Beretta Coffman, the Vice President of Non-physician Providers at the Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America, said. “If the burn is bigger than the palm of your hand, you’re probably going to need some medical care.”

Tips to prevent cooking burns

Courtesy: National Fire Protection Association

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Turkey frying burns

Hospitals aren’t the only busy places on Thanksgiving. Firefighters get called to homes after turkey frying goes wrong.

“In the last two years, we’ve had 59 cooking fires just during Thanksgiving,” Lerone Deasley, the Augusta fire marshal, said.

Fires can break out when turkeys are fried when they’re not fully thawed, if there’s too much oil or if the oil is too hot.

“If you have your extinguisher nearby, try to extinguish it while someone else calls 911. If that isn’t successful in a matter of 30 to 40 seconds, you need to evacuate the building.”

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