It’s that time of year again. The smell of roasting turkeys and pumpkin pies are in the air. Who doesn’t get excited about Thanksgiving? Most people start thinking about those delicious spreads weeks before the big event. But did you know that Thanksgiving Day, a day which most foodies’ rejoice for, is also known as a day that keeps fire departments nationwide the busiest? According to the National Fire Prevention Association, Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment. Yikes!
I know what you’re thinking. That’s a scary statistic, but what does that have to do with me? We all think bad things couldn’t possibly happen to us. We are the masters of our domain, and if something were to happen we would have it handled. That’s an optimistic attitude, but unless you have the proper safety knowledge that attitude won’t help protect your family, yourself, or your house in case an emergency arises. Without having an emergency plan to enact in case of emergency, you risk turning a happy holiday into a tragic news event.
Have I gotten your attention yet? Good! Now let’s help you set up guidelines to follow to keep your holiday running smoothly. First things first, this may seem like a no brainer, but check your fire alarms to make sure they are working. You can do this by pushing the test button located on the front of the alarm. In case a grease fire gets out of hand you need this alarm to alert everyone in the household. Next, make sure your family and yourself are acquainted with where the fire extinguisher is located. Oh, you don’t have an extinguisher? Shame on you! They’re available at most home supplies stores and are affordable. This is something that could mean the difference between a small stove top fire and a burnt down house.
Now that we have the pre-cooking safety precautions taken care of, let’s move on. You have the food on the stove, and the turkey in the oven. Do not leave the food cooking unattended. Let me reiterate, DO NOT LEAVE THE FOOD UNATTENDED! Someone should always be present in the kitchen when food is cooking on the stove top. For those people who deep fry your turkey, please make this a 2 person job. Someone must stay outside with the turkey fryer, while someone is inside watching the stove top food cook. Yes, when frying your turkey, it must be done OUTSIDE. Not in the house, not in the garage and not under the car port. The hot oil and fire used to heat it could pose all sorts of catastrophic kitchen dangers. Just don’t do it! I know staying in a hot kitchen while the house has to be prepared may seem like torture, but worry not. You don’t have to sit there watching pots boil.
The next part of our safety checklist is storing hazards. While your food is cooking away, walk around the kitchen to make sure knives are stored properly and away from children. Inspect the kitchen electronics plugs; make sure they aren’t dangling for pets and/or children to grab. Also, make sure they are a safe distance away from the boiling liquids. Electrical fires are just as dangerous as the grease ones. Keep utility lighters and matches stored away, and in areas kids cannot reach. You do not want to be watching the pots boiling, making sure you’re following your prevention plan, while your little one is setting fire to the living room furniture! Speaking of children, try to plan activities for them that keep them out of the kitchen as must as possible while the food is cooking. Getting them involved in other preparations will keep them involved, so they won’t feel left out. If they must come into the kitchen, make sure to keep them 3 feet away from the stove. Sauces and water have a tendency to spurt out of the pot, so keeping a 3 foot distance will ensure no burns to kid hands.
The food has been cooked and you are ready for the guests to arrive. This brings us to the last part of our safety precautions. Clear the clutter! You do not want your guest and/or children tripping over garbage bags, purses, toys, and/or wiring. Nothing could spoil a fun holiday like someone having to be rushed to hospital needing stitches or having a concussion. You don’t want to be labeled as the house no one wants to visit during holidays.
Here is a quick overview of the guidelines:
- Make sure the fire alarms are working.
- Know where the fire extinguisher is located.
- Do not leave food that is cooking unattended.
- Do not use a turkey deep fryer inside any part of the house.
- Store away knives, utility lighters and matches.
- Keep kitchen appliance cords wrapped up and away from boiling liquids.
- Keep children out of the kitchen, and if they must come in then make them keep a 3 foot distance from the stove.
- Clear the floor of tripping hazards.
Remember these Thanksgiving safety tips and the day should be everything you expect it to be.
Now that you are prepared with your handy holiday safety guidelines, go and enjoy your holiday safely!