(Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Don’t burn the turkey: Vancouver firefighters on how to have a flame-free holiday

It’s the ultimate Thanksgiving faux pas

Picture this: It’s Thanksgiving morning and you’re ready to go. The turkey’s in the oven and the brussels sprouts are roasting.

But how ready are you if something goes wrong?

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services want to make sure you’re completely prepared if a kitchen fire ignites.

“We definitely expect to see an increase in calls at… Thanksgiving,” said Capt. Jonathan Gormick. “Not only are people home and in the kitchen more, but they’re cooking more than they would normally be and sometimes using cooking techniques like deep frying turkeys that they wouldn’t normally use. The potential for fires is much much higher.”

Unfortunately, the resulting grease fires can’t be put out with water, which Gormick said is often the first thing people grab – and which results in a much bigger problem.

“Water is heavier than grease. [It] hits the grease and sinks to the bottom. The water then boils, expands approximately 1,700 times and spatters and spreads the flammable grease up and over,” said Gormick. “If it’s not already flaming, it’s ignited by the flame source for the stuff. If it’s already flaming, it can cause a huge fireball.”

The leading cause behind the almost daily kitchen fires Vancouver fire crews respond to? Forgetfulness, Gormick said. While not all cause major damage, they do amount to $2-2.5 million in damage annually and have resulted in three fatalities in Vancouver since 2012.

WATCH: Firefighters show how bad a grease fire can be, and how to put it out:

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