Before you fry or bake that turkey, read this

(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)

TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) Temple firefighters are sharing some tips to ensure that your Thanksgiving meal doesn’t go up in smoke or your house in flames.

Their first rule is that you keep a close watch on your cooking.

If you plan to leave your home, even for a moment, turn everything off.

That’s especially important if you're frying a turkey.

Fryers should always be used outside, far away from flammable materials.

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and patted dry; water can cause oil to spill over and cause a fire or explosion hazard.

If you suffer a burn while cooking, putting butter or ice on your skin is not the solution.

"The body is trying to maintain a nice normal balance, a thermostat if you will,” says Temple Fire Department spokesman Thomas Pechal.

“If it gets too cold, the body starts shivering, starts generating heat to try to stay warm, so we put the ice on it and we're going to the other extreme. That's why we don't want to do the ice. Cold water just out of the faucet is the best first aid for burns," adds Pechal.

If the burn is severe, head to the hospital.

Wherever you're cooking, keep a fire extinguisher handy.

And never use water to put out a grease fire; keep a lid or baking soda nearby to smother stovetop fires.

Another tip from firefighters is to mark off a kid-free zone at least three feet around the stove or other areas where hot foods are prepared.
When the fun’s over, how do you handle the cleanup?

Whether you're frying a turkey or sautéing veggies, you might have some leftover oil you don't know what to do with.
The number one “no-no” is pouring it down a drain or toilet.

It causes buildup in the sewer systems and in an emergency, workers have to spend their holiday clearing out clogged pipes from fats oil and grease.

"The grease as it goes through the system, it kind of hardens especially during the colder time of year,” says Steven Kana, the City of Killeen’s Director of Water and Sewer.

“It sticks to the pipes, it's just like plaque in arteries. Then the sewer backs up, and it has to come out somewhere, so most of the time where it comes out is out of the man holes," says Kana.

They call that a sanitary sewer overflow. It's as messy as it sounds, and you don't want it to ruin your holiday.

What you should do is put oil and grease in a container; you can save some for cooking later or drop it off at a recycling facility.

Also, don't run hot water over oil and grease to rinse dishes and pots.
Instead, remove grease and food scraps with a paper towel, then put that gunk in the trash instead of the garbage disposal.