Fire safety encouraged during Thanksgiving holiday

Staff Writer

fire pic (640 px)

As Thanksgiving nears, it’s considered essential that people exercise caution as they prepare for their Turkey Day feast.

Some families enjoy frying their bird, others prefer the much more traditional oven method. Regardless, San Benito Fire Chief Raul Zuniga noted some precautions that should be taken as folks start their cooking.

One of the biggest concerns with the holidays, especially when it comes to the Thanksgiving feast is the combination of having lots of items on the stovetop while preparing foods and general hoopla associated with the holidays.

“Forgetting stuff on the stove … because you’re in a rush,” said Zuniga, is one of the biggest causes of fires in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Though this hasn’t been an issue in recent times, according to the fire chief, it’s worth being mindful of when cooking.

Families wanting to fry their turkey can become another fire hazard for those who do not take proper precautions.

Zuniga said that the best way to fry a turkey is to do it outdoors.

They must first fill their fryer with water and fully submerge the turkey – this is to measure how much oil will be needed so that overflow does not occur. Once a safe amount of oil is determined, they should thoroughly dry the fryer and the turkey to avoid splash from, Zuniga warned.

If there is an emergency, Zuniga stresses that people should immediately call 911 and should not try to extinguish the fire themselves. Spraying the oil fire with water will only cause the burning oil to scatter.

Another issue that comes up during the colder months is when the homeless seek shelter at abandoned homes. There have been cases in the past of fires starting as a result of homeless men and women who’ve started a fire inside abandoned houses to stay warm. Instead, Zuniga urges the homeless to seek shelter during the winter months.

Bill Reagan, executive director at Loaves and Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley in Harlingen, said that anyone seeking shelter on these cold days is welcomed to stay. Loaves and Fishes offers 24-7 sheltering and food as well as all necessary toiletries.

“They don’t need anything,” Reagan said of anyone seeking shelter from the cold.

People are often reluctant of staying at shelters, fearing that others within the shelter may be the “rough” type, according to Reagan. However, most are just families and everyday people who are going through hard times, he explained.

Reagan also urges anyone who knows of a homeless person who needs a safe haven in the cold months to contact Loaves and Fishes at (956) 423-1014.

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