Thanksgiving began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the prior year. It has evolved into a holiday of fellowship where family and friends gather to enjoy a celebratory feast. While putting together a Thanksgiving feast, the cooking of several dishes simultaneously along with hosting party guests can be distracting and could result in potential kitchen accidents. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking is the number one cause of home fires and fire injuries, with Thanksgiving as the nation’s leading holiday for fires and injuries caused by cooking.
To help prevent dangerous situations during the holiday’s festivities, follow these safety tips:
Never leave cooking food unattended:
Remain in the kitchen and never leave frying, grilling or broiling food unsupervised. Turn off the stove when leaving the kitchen regardless of the duration you are away and utilize a timer when using the oven.
Anything that can catch fire – potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels – should be kept away from the range, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen generating heat.
Keep cooking equipment out of reach. Keep kids and pets away from the cooking areas and at least several feet away from the stove. Both children and pets are “curious” about food being prepared. Children may want to become involved and assist with preparations, while pets are attracted by the smell of food. While cooking, turn pot handles to the side. A handle hanging over the edge of a stovetop is very tempting for small children to grab, and makes for an easy target to run into, causing hot food to spill. Keep hot pots on the stove back burners to keep them out of the reach of children. Also, avoid wearing loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking that can catch fire or become lodged or stuck on handles.
Potholders on standby: To prevent serious burns, keep protective potholders within reach to grab a hot pot or pan that may quickly boil over or overcooks.
Deep fryers: While deep-frying makes for tasty, crispy turkeys, it also uses oil at a very high temperature. Never use a turkey fryer inside, in the garage, or on a covered patio; always use a fryer outside with good ventilation. Don’t overfill the fryer with oil. And keep children and pets away as a fryer with hot oil can easily tip over.
Also, keep a fire extinguisher nearby in your kitchen and other cooking areas.