Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday as it reminds us to be thankful for what we have. When people think about Thanksgiving, their first thought is often about the feast. The turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and pies are all dishes that make this holiday a delicious one. Family and friends gather to enjoy fellowship through laughter and a satisfied belly. While Thanksgiving is an exciting and enjoyable holiday, very few think about the potential dangers this holiday could bring. Did you know that Thanksgiving is in fact, the nation’s leading day for kitchen fires? According to the USFA, kitchen fires are three times as high on Thanksgiving as they are on any other day of the year. It is estimated that in the US, 2,000 Thanksgiving fires occur in residential homes per year. So, as you gather family and friends together, be mindful and consider the following safety tips:
- Make sure your smoke alarms have batteries in them. Test the batteries by pressing the test button and if needed change out batteries.
- Before prepping your feast, be sure to take some time to clean your oven and stovetop. Making sure this appliance is clean and free from all grease and dust can go a long way in preventing a fire.
One of the main causes of kitchen fires come from people who get distracted and leave food unattended. So here are some things to consider that will help keep you and your family safe:
- Be attentive to the food you are cooking, remain in the kitchen and keep a close eye on anything on the stovetop.
- Don’t leave the house while food is cooking. If you must, make sure someone is home and in the kitchen, helping to keep danger at bay. Be mindful of what you are cooking. Check on it often.
- If walking away for a bit is necessary be sure to set a timer to help remind you to either check the food, take it off the stove or out of the oven.
- With the hustle and bustle of the holiday, it’s a good idea to keep kids out of the kitchen or at least three feet away from anything hot, which includes appliances, hot food and/or liquids.
- Be mindful of what is located around the cooking area. Keep flammable items like oven mitts, wooden utensils, and towels away from the stove or oven.
- Prevent any tripping hazards by picking up anything on the floor, including toys, grocery bags, or even pets. If there are multiple people in the kitchen, communicate if you are moving something hot. Bumping into someone could be just as detrimental as tripping.
- Keep pot and pan handles facing inward and away from the edge to prevent them from being bumped or knocked off the stove.
- Watch out for the electrical cords of smaller appliances such as an electric mixer or knives and keep these out of a child’s reach.
Be aware of an Open Flame
Candles are very high on the list of causing residential fires so when placing candles around the home, be sure they are out of reach of children and have adequate distance from any home/holiday decorations. Also, put matches and lighters away and out of sight from children. Make sure the candles are where the adults are gathering and not in a place that is out of sight or not monitored.
Deep Frying? Be Cautious!
Deep fried turkeys are becoming more and more popular these days, but the novelty doesn’t come without risk. Cooking the turkey in hot oil is very dangerous because if the oil gets tipped over or overflows when the turkey is inserted it could cause serious bodily harm or a large – hard to contain – fire. Here some tips to keep safe while deep-frying your turkey:
- Keep the deep fryer away from a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or any type of enclosed space.
- Make sure the fryer is outside on a sturdy and level surface and far from anything that could be at risk of fire damage.
- Children and pets must remain at least three feet away from the fryer to prevent burns and injury.
- Wear long, insulated cooking gloves when handling a deep fryer because the pot and lid can be incredibly hot.
- Protect your eyes from any oil splatter by wearing safety goggles.
- In case of a fire have a fire extinguisher available. NEVER USE WATER ON A GREASE FIRE
- Before putting the turkey into the fryer, make sure it is thoroughly thawed and dried. Water from the turkey entering oil could cause an explosion hazard. (It is recommended that the turkey be thawed in the refrigerator for 24 hours for every five pounds of weight.)
Thanksgiving is a celebration that brings people together, creates happy bellies and even happier hearts. As you enter the holiday, be sure to take the precautions mentioned above and enjoy a safe, fire free day.