Thanksgiving safety tips

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Thanksgiving is all about family, food and giving thanks. It is the time to share wonderful things like turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and plenty of family time. However, preparing a holiday feast can lead to disaster if risks associated with preparing a large feast are not managed. According to the American Red Cross, the kitchen is the setting of more fires than any other room in the house, and cooking is the leading cause of fires in the home. The following safety steps for preparing a Thanksgiving feast are provided by the ARC.

Those who have the talent and have volunteered, or possibly been ‘voluntold,’ to cook for the family should start by practicing these simple tips:

• Never wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

• Never leave cooking food unattended.

• Always stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food.

• If the person cooking the food must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, they should turn off the stove.

Other important

safety steps include:

• Check food regularly and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.

• Keep kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a ‘kid-free zone’ and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove and other appliances.

• Keep anything that can catch fire such as pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains away from the stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.

• Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.

• Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen in an easily accessible location. Contact the local fire department for training on the proper use of extinguishers.

• Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.

• Never leave food sitting out. Once mealtime is finished, put all perishable food in the refrigerator to avoid food poisoning.

• Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

For some, Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to travel to see loved ones. It is very important to think ahead and manage the travel risks prior to embarking on the journey. This process should begin with considering the possibility of winter weather, freezing temperatures and rain. It is always necessary to consider the weather conditions when planning a trip, no matter what time of year it may be. According to AAA, more than 43 million Americans are expected to be on the roads this week. If inclement weather conditions move in, roadways can turn into a very dangerous place for everyone who uses them.

There are a few things that should be added to the checklist of things to do before hitting the road:

• Read or watch the local news to see what type of driving conditions are expected.

• Make sure vehicles are in good working order. Fill the gas tank, check tire pressure and make sure the windshield fluid reservoir is full. Have everyone in the vehicle buckle up and slow down.

• Never become the distracted driver, never drink and drive, and never text and drive.

• Stay alert at all times. Make frequent stops on long trips. If you become too tired to drive safely, stop and rest.

• If you experience car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

When planning to travel by plane or train, it is very important to remember that it is the beginning of flu season. If you’ve been sick or been in contact with someone who is sick, consider postponing your trip. It is possible to be contagious for a week before symptoms appear. Remember that everything you touch has to be touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc. Handle your own belongings as much as possible. Wash hands often with soap and warm water. Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes. They are a great tool for washing hands and wiping down surfaces such as armrests. Avoid touching your face or eyes. If it becomes necessary to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or your sleeve.

If you have thought ahead and managed risks, you are sure to enjoy a wonderful, safe Thanksgiving holiday weekend.