Think fire safety this Thanksgiving

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, which means family gatherings and lots of cooking.  It can also mean more fires.

In fact, the National Fire Prevention Association says cooking is the most common cause of home fires, and home fires are four times more likely to occur on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year.

“Practicing safe cooking behavior is important,” Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said. “Exercising caution at all times in the kitchen can help reduce the risk of a kitchen fire.”

The No. 1 cause of cooking fires is cooking equipment, and a leading cause of those fires is that equipment being left unattended.

“People get busy, get interrupted while in the kitchen, and they just walk away, many times for some small distraction that turns into a major problem,” Boney said. “Never leave a stove unattended.”

Insurance reports have shown that people walk away to talk or send a text, check emails, and even for a short time to answer the doorbell and greet visitors.

Fire officials say to make sure that someone is always in the kitchen monitoring the cooking. Do not leave items on or in your oven to simmer, bake, roast or boil while you are away from home. Turn the stove off. And if deep frying a turkey, do it outside.

“Never fry a turkey under a carport or structure,” Biloxi Assistant Fire Chief Mark Dronet said. “Make sure that when frying a turkey, it is done at least 10 feet away from any structure.”

Dronet also says to make sure that the turkey is completely thawed and dry and turn the burner off before placing the turkey in the hot oil.

If a fire ignites in the kitchen, take precautions. More than 50 percent of injuries from cooking fires were from victims attempting to fight the fires themselves.

“Many times people will attempt to pick up a pan on fire and place it in the sink or take it outside,” Boney said. “But that pan is usually too hot to hold on to and it gets dropped causing the burning food to spread the fire.”

Added Boney, “If you get uncomfortable with something and see a flame, call 911. We can put it out safely and cause less damage.”

Here are some safety tips from the Biloxi Fire Department:

–Keep an eye on what you fry.

–Stand by your pan.

–If you see any smoke or the grease starts to boil, turn the burner off.

–Wear short sleeves or roll sleeves up.

–Keep cooking area clean and free of anything that may catch on fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packing and towels.

–Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.

–Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby and use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire.

–Have a working smoke alarm and fire extinguisher nearby.
See a Thanksgiving cooking safety flyer
Video: What to do if there’s a kitchen fire
See winter fire safety tips


Trump to stump in Biloxi for Hyde-Smith

President Donald J. Trump is coming to town Monday in a public appearance to support Republican candidate Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith on the eve of the Senate runoff race with challenger Mike Espy.

Doors to the Coast Coliseum will open at 5 p.m. Monday, and the president is scheduled to take the stage at 8 p.m. The Senate runoff is Tuesday.

Tickets to the Coliseum event are free, but must be reserved online using a mobile number to register. Those attending will pay a $5 parking fee. To register for tickets, which are on a first-come basis, click here.

Back in January 2016, then-candidate Donald J. Trump attracted a crowd of 13,000 to the Coliseum for a rally.
Register for Monday night tickets


News & notes: Podcast, holidays, weekend preview, videos

CAO on the record: Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard discusses a host of city projects in this week’s City Desk podcast, recorded this morning at City Hall. To listen, click here.

Garbage service: The Harrison County Utility Authority says no garbage, reycling or trash will be collected Thursday, owing to the Thanksgiving holiday.  Collection typically on Thursday and Friday will be a day later than usual.

Office closures:  All non-emergency municipal offices in Biloxi will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Weekend preview:  For a look at events of note taking place along the Mississippi Gulf Coast this weekend, click here. To see the Biloxi Community Calendar, click here.

Downtown video: There’s a new playlist on the city’s YouTube page focusing on downtown and the new Howard Avenue. To see the four-clip collection, click here.