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Thanksgiving Safety Tips

November 25, 2019

Thanksgiving is often a time for family, food and festivities. The last thing on your mind during the Thanksgiving holiday might be a trip to the hospital, but, unfortunately, this happens often. Risk factors such as hot ovens, fryers, fire hazards and drunk drivers could lead to tragic accidents and serious personal injuries. Keep your home and family safe this Thanksgiving by following a few general safety tips.

Thanksgiving dinner table

Supervise Cooking Food

Thanksgiving is the number one day for home cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. In 2016, fire departments responded to 1,570 such fires on Thanksgiving. The primary cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking. Failing to keep an eye on food that is frying, grilling, broiling, boiling, baking, simmering or roasting could lead to a preventable kitchen fire, such as a grease fire.

Cooking fires can quickly get out of hand and affect the rest of the kitchen and the house. The best way to prevent a kitchen fire this Thanksgiving is to be alert and supervise the cooking. Stay in the kitchen to watch food cooking on a stove top. Check regularly on food cooking in the oven, including a turkey. Do not leave anything flammable near the oven or other sources of heat or electricity. This can include Thanksgiving decorations, dry leaves or flowers, oven mitts, recipe papers, wooden utensils, paper towels, hand towels, food packaging, and curtains.

Keep flammable items safely away from sources that could ignite a fire. Avoid burning yourself this Thanksgiving by always using an oven mitt when handling hot food items or plates. Check all cooking equipment for damage and electrical cord wear before use. If you are deep frying a turkey this year, never leave the fryer unattended. Wear protective gear such as goggles and grill mitts. Keep a fire extinguisher rated for grease fires within arm’s reach while deep frying.

Review Fire Safety Tips

Fires are a significant threat on Thanksgiving and the day before. Although the most common cause of fire-related injuries and deaths on Thanksgiving are kitchen fires, fires can also start elsewhere due to fireworks, candles, worn-out electrical cords on holiday décor or children playing with matches. Keep fire safety basics in mind in case you need to spring into action this holiday.

  • Test all smoke alarms
  • Keep fire extinguishers handy
  • Create a fire escape plan and practice with family
  • Keep kids out of the kitchen
  • Get out of the house immediately if a fire starts
  • Call 911 for help and do not go back inside for anything
  • Walk to a safe distance to wait

If you suffer burn injuries, go to a hospital immediately. Burns come with a high risk of infection. Preventing a fire this Thanksgiving may take due diligence and awareness. Do not cook while intoxicated or drowsy, and keep your family informed about the basics of preventing and responding to a house fire.

Be Wary on the Road

Thanksgiving is one of the deadliest days on the road. Traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday can expose you to risks such as congested traffic, bad weather, drunk drivers and drowsy drivers. In 2017, Thanksgiving had the second-highest traffic death rate, behind the Fourth of July. If you can, stay in for the Thanksgiving holiday. If you have to drive on Thanksgiving or the days surrounding it, do so with caution.

The rate of drunk driving increases after sundown on most days, especially holidays. Try to stay off the roads once it gets dark to help avoid an accident with a drunk driver. Always have a designated driver or a sober ride home if you plan on drinking alcohol. Before leaving on a long trip, take your vehicle to a professional for maintenance. Research the weather where you will be driving and try to leave early to avoid heavy traffic. Do not try to drive overnight if you are not used to doing so. Avoid driver distractions and obey traffic laws to make it to your Thanksgiving destination alive.