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ACFD: Distracted Cooking Is Top Thanksgiving Fire Hazard

Normally around this time of year, readers and watchers of local news are bombarded with warnings about the dangers of turkey fryers. Those dangers still exist — see below — but the Arlington County Fire Department says there’s another Thanksgiving danger that often goes un-publicized: distracted cooking.

“Burnt food or food on the stove calls are more frequent than turkey fryer incidents,” ACFD spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl told ARLnow.com. “Distracted cooking is hazardous.”

Distracted cooking leads to almost daily fire-related calls to houses and apartment buildings in Arlington. Most food-on-the-stove calls just result in lots of smoke or minor fires that are quickly extinguished, but some can lead to full-scale fires.

The department offered the following cooking safety tips for the holidays and beyond.

Don’t be distracted while cooking. Guests and other distractions can take your attention from cooking which could result in a fire or injury. Don’t leave any cooking unattended.

Wear short sleeves or fitted sleeves. Loose fitting sleeves can contact heat sources and catch fire.

Turn pot and pan handles away from the stoves edge to prevent burns and scalds.

If you are going to fry a turkey follow all recommendations by the manufacturer for the fryer. Do not use the fryer on a deck or close to a residence.

Have a “kid free zone” 3 feet around the stove or areas where cooking is being done. Keeping the children away will help prevent burn and scald injuries.

On the inevitable topic of turkey fryers, Karl cautioned against a new indoor turkey fryer that seems safer than the traditional kind, but which is susceptible to the same fire hazards.

Karl said the popular Butterball Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer, seen in the video below, can still cause a fire if overfilled with oil.

“We do not believe they are any more or less hazardous than a regular deep fat fryer,” he said. “The same risks still exist frying a turkey indoors or outdoors. We ask people read the manufacturers recommendations and be certain the turkey is completely thawed before frying.”

“We wish everybody a safe Thanksgiving,” Karl added.

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Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.

Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.

About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.

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Submit your own Announcement here.

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