Mark Wilson, assistant chief of prevention for the Fort Cavazos Fire Department, and TC Coffman, DPW Safety program manager, prep a frozen turkey to be dropped into propane fryer Oct. 13. (U.S. Army photo by Christine Luciano, Fort Cavazos DPW Environmental)
Mark Wilson, assistant chief of prevention for the Fort Cavazos Fire Department, and TC Coffman, DPW Safety program manager, prep a frozen turkey to be dropped into propane fryer Oct. 13. (U.S. Army photo by Christine Luciano, Fort Cavazos DPW Environmental) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — The Fort Cavazos Fire Department and Directorate of Public Works Safety Office is reminding the community to stay safe and prevent a fire as part of Fire Prevention Month.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, this year’s campaign, “Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention,” works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe when cooking.

To help spread the message about fire prevention and cooking safety, the fire department and DPW partnered with the Clear Creek Exchange to do a live demonstration and discuss the dangers of improperly deep frying a turkey.

“Don’t let a fire ruin a special time,” said Mark Wilson, assistant chief of prevention for the Fort Cavazos Fire Department. “Practicing fire safety and prevention and having a plan in place will help to keep you and your family safe.”

TC Coffman, DPW Safety program manager, was approached by the unit safety officers for the DPW Operations and Maintenance Division to emphasize the importance of safety during the holiday season.

“We want to do everything we can to ensure holiday celebrations for not only our DPW family, but also families of our community are safe and memorable versus tragic and unfortunate,” Coffman said.

The Clear Creek Exchange captured the demonstration on social media as a fully equipped firefighter used a catchpole to dip a frozen turkey into an overfilled outdoor propane fryer. Wilson then further emphasized the do’s and don’ts of turkey frying, and how to minimize those risks.

Mark Wilson, assistant chief of prevention for the Fort Cavazos Fire Department, discusses the do’s and don’ts of turkey frying, as a fully equipped firefighter in background uses a catchpole to dip a frozen turkey into the outdoor propane fryer, outside the Clear Creek Exchange. (U.S. Army photo by Christine Luciano, Fort Cavazos DPW Environmental)
Mark Wilson, assistant chief of prevention for the Fort Cavazos Fire Department, discusses the do’s and don’ts of turkey frying, as a fully equipped firefighter in background uses a catchpole to dip a frozen turkey into the outdoor propane fryer, outside the Clear Creek Exchange. (U.S. Army photo by Christine Luciano, Fort Cavazos DPW Environmental) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

“There is a risk of a fryer tipping over, overheating and spilling hot oil which can lead to dangerous consequences of fires, burns and other injuries,” Wilson said.

Wilson offered these fire prevention and cooking safety tips for families:

• Do not overfill the fryer.

• Fryers should always be used outdoors, on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.

• Keep all-purpose fire extinguishers nearby.

• Make sure the turkey is completely thawed, dried and free of excess water before it is placed in a fryer.

• Never leave the fryer unattended because, without thermostat controls, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.

• Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after use as the oil can remain hot for hours.

• Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or enclosed space.

“The keyword is safety,” Wilson said. “Whether you are DPW safety or fire safety, we are in it together to help get our message out to our community, Soldiers and families and help them understand the importance of fire prevention.”

Coffman added that the long-standing relationship with the fire department goes back many decades, with the department actually being a component of DPW before its reassignment to the Directorate of Emergency Services.

“The fire department is a large part of the DPW family and we have always worked very well together in public events, training and real-life exercises,” he said. “Our partnership is mutually beneficial and builds camaraderie and consistency in our safety message to the community.”