Thanksgiving day has more than double the number of home cooking fires than an average day according to the U.S. Fire Administration. In fact, each year more than 4,000 fires occur on Thanksgiving day. The Thanksgiving holiday week can prove to be a very dangerous holiday. On a gratitude-focused day, too many people find themselves instead dealing with the neglect of safety. Before any of that happens, take a few minutes to understand the Top 4 Thanksgiving Safety Hazards and how best to avoid them ruining your holiday.
Top 4 Thanksgiving Safety Hazards
1) Fire – More than 4,000 home fires take place Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and most of those start in the kitchen.
To help prevent fire in your home on Thanksgiving:
- Never leave food cooking or the stove unsupervised
- Keep potholders and food wrappers at least three feet away from heat sources while cooking
- Keep children away from the stove
- Keep baking soda on hand to put out kitchen fires
- Never wear loose fitting clothing when cooking
- Long, open sleeves could ignite and catch fire from a gas flame or a hot burner
- Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking
- Make sure the floor remains free of anything that could cause tripping
- And of course, make sure fire alarms are in working order
- Always wash your hands after handling raw or undercooked poultry
- Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and produce to prevent cross-contamination
- The USDA recommends cooking the turkey at a minimum of 325 degrees
- Use a food thermometer and cook the turkey to an internal temperature of 165 to 180 degrees to ensure the turkey is cooked thoroughly and to avoid illness caused by consuming undercooked poultry
- Store leftovers within 2 hours or toss them
3) Travel – About 91% of Thanksgiving travel takes place by car, and over 20 million people travel by airplane. Since Thanksgiving is one of the most travel-heavy times of the year, it is also one of the most likely for accidents and other challenges experienced when travelling.
- When traveling by car, make sure your vehicle is well-maintained, plan your route ahead of time, and be prepared with an emergency kit
- Allow yourself extra travel time, especially in areas where there may be inclement weather
- Slow traffic should be considered a given with so many drivers on the road, so you will be less stressed and drive safer if you are not in a rush
- Do not announce travel plans over social media
- One study found that 4 out of 5 ex-burglars used social media sites to identify unoccupied properties
- For air travel, allow extra time to get to your gate, get plenty of rest to help you stay patient in the crowded airport, and be sure to pack for quick on and off to avoid spending time in lines and at the luggage carousel
- Regardless of method of travel, always stay aware of weather conditions
4) Pets – If you add pets to an already busy house during a Thanksgiving get-together, you may just create a recipe for disaster.
The Veterinary Medical Association warns that turkey and chicken bones should never be given to pets because they can splinter and pets may choke. Dogs should be kept away from any dish that has onions, leeks, garlic, raisins, grapes or chocolate, as those foods can be hazardous to your dog’s health.
Taking some time to organize and plan goes a long way in creating a safe environment for you and your family during the Thanksgiving holiday. While you cannot control others, you can decide for yourself to put together the right mix for a safe time, whether eating or shopping. Doing so will help make sure the holiday remains thankful instead of full of regret.