Every year, people throughout the United States spend quality time with family and friends they are most thankful for. However, with all the fun and festivities come serious dangers. From cooking fires to road trips, Thanksgiving dangers are sometimes forgotten during the holiday chaos.
Let's keep our safety something we're thankful for during this holiday season by keeping safety on our minds.
House fires are real dangers every day of the year, but especially during the Thanksgiving holiday. Think about how much time you’re spending in the kitchen on your culinary creations. Now think about all the chaos that comes with holiday parties. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget about the food on the stove or in the oven. Because of this, Thanksgiving is the most common day for home fires!
According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 1,600 home cooking fires were reported and responded to on Thanksgiving 2017. These incidents were largely caused by individuals leaving cooking unattended.  Obviously, the easiest way to prevent these fires is keeping an eye on anything that is cooking or baking.
The Department of Homeland Security has some great fire safety tips to integrate into your holiday plans :
- Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarms: Make sure you have these safety necessities installed in your home, especially in the kitchen, and check that they are in good, working condition.
- Fire Extinguishers: Before you embark on your holiday cooking, ensure you have a working fire extinguisher in your kitchen. You never know when you may need to use it to put out fires on the stove or in the oven.
- People: It’s hard to keep an eye on what’s cooking when there are so many people entering and exiting the kitchen. Try to keep this area off limits for hanging out and chatting. Make sure children and pets are in another area away from heat and flames.
- Timers: Whether you’re making a casserole or baking a cake, set timers. This way, if you get caught up in another task, the timer will alert you when your food is ready.
- 9-1-1: Sometimes, preparation is not enough. If a fire occurs, immediately call for emergency services.
Thanksgiving Dinner Dangers
Staying in line with cooking and food, don’t forget the dangers that can come with holiday dishes. Bacteria and germs from one food item can quickly contaminate other meals and turn a holiday get-together into a public health disaster.
When preparing your holiday dinner, keep these tips in mind :
- Meats: If you decide to include meaty dishes on your Thanksgiving menu, make sure it is cooked well. Use a food thermometer to measure internal temperature to at least more than 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep raw meats away from cooked foods. Raw or undercooked meats are the most common causes of foodborne illnesses. Don’t have harmful bacteria as unexpected guests to your holiday dinner.
- Turkey: The most popular Thanksgiving dish. While turkey shares dangers with other holiday meats, unique problems can arise when it comes to deep frying. Dropping a turkey in a pot of boiling oil can result in a fire and serious burns. Remember to keep an eye on your turkey while it is frying. For more tips, check out Serious Eat’s Turkey Frying Safety Tips.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Wash raw fruits and vegetables very well if you are planning on serving them to your guests. These foods are typically sprayed with pesticides and are handled by many different people before they reach your home.
- Allergies: If you’re having a large guest list, consider labeling foods containing allergens in order to keep your guests safe. The most common allergens are dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish.
The Thanksgiving holiday is a great time to take a road trip to visit friends and family. However, due to the erratic cold weather, increased traffic, and long driving distances, road trips can quickly turn hazardous. Before heading out on your holiday road trip, create a safety plan.
It’s always tempting to gush about a fun trip you’re taking during the holidays but try to keep this information private. Do not post that you’re going out of town. This can make your home a potential target for robbery. The Instagram and Facebook photos can wait until you get back. Do lock all windows and doors, and alert your neighbors that you are going out of town so they can keep an eye out for any suspicious activity around your home.
Some more great travel tips are :
- Electronics: Unplug all electronics before you leave. The last thing you want to ruin your vacation is a house fire when you are miles away.
- Planning: Look over the route to your destination before you head out. Try to get familiar with exits and turns so that you’re not alerted with a last minute exit when you’re on the highway.
- Weather: Pay attention to the weather forecasts for the week. Do not drive or travel in dangerous conditions. Keep a road emergency kit in your vehicle with a flashlight, blankets, a couple gallons of water, antifreeze mix, and ice scrapers.
- Phone: Stay off your phone! If you need to use a GPS, set your phone up in a location where you won’t have to continuously reach for it. This way, you can keep both hands on the wheel and your full attention on the road.
Consider checking out Reolink’s “Top Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Your Perfect Holiday” for some more great tips!
Don’t let your Thanksgiving holiday be ruined by fires and auto accidents that are avoidable. While planning and preparing for all your holiday festivities, do not forget about safety. Whether you’re hosting a feast or driving cross country, keep our safety tips in mind, and share them with a friend.
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