The Mississippi State Fire Academy is urging residents to practice fire safety this year as Thanksgiving is the peak day of the year for home cooking fires.

MSFA instructor Chief Shannon Sandridge said there are several safety tips residents should keep in mind firing up their turkey friers. The three most common issues, he said, are using too much oil, overheating the oil and not properly thawing the turkey.

Using too much oil, oil that is too hot or using a frozen turkey can cause the hot oil to spill out and set fire to patios or homes.

Oil in turkey friers should be kept at 375 degrees, Sandridge said, and a fully-thawed, dried turkey should be slowly lowered – not dropped – into the pot. Turkey friers should only be used outdoors on hard, flat surfaces, he said, never indoors or in a garage.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, firefighters responded to more than 1,400 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving day in 2019, which was about three times the normal number of calls. The biggest factor, the NFPA said, was unattended cooking.

NFPA, which strongly advises against using turkey friers, said residents should also practice fire safety in the kitchen by checking smoke alarms, keeping an eye on the turkey and other dishes being cooked and keeping children and pets away from the stove.

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