It’s the day before Thanksgiving and you know what that means: everyone is talking turkey, potatoes (both mashed and sweet), and pies. But there’s another subject that deserves some conversation on our yearly day of thanks: safety in the kitchen for the sake of your family and home.
Everyone knows the most important kitchen mantra of “safety first.” But, on the most major cooking day of the year, it’s easy to accidentally overlook safety in order to save time, patience, and even a football-related argument breaking out among relatives. No one willfully disregards safety precautions when cooking an elaborate meal, but if there’s a day where the chaos can distract from safety musts, it’s definitely Thanksgiving.
In order to combat this trend which (according to the Maryland Star Democrat newspaper and The Coloradoan, among many other regional publications) results in Thanksgiving being the most common day of the year for house fires, we’ve compiled a list of safety reminders to keep your home firefighter free.
● It’s always a good idea to stay in the kitchen when things are cooking on the stovetop. This way, if a rogue flame develops, you’ll be there to quell it before it becomes out of control. Additionally, when cooking a turkey, don’t leave the house. The bird should be checked on frequently and someone should always be inside the residence to keep an eye on it. Finally, (this is a given, but) keep kids away from the stove/oven area. Children who aren’t old enough to help are also not old enough to realize the caution needed to approach these appliances.
● Make sure all home smoke alarms are in working order before T-Day. No one expects you to sit in front of a cooking turkey for hours — working smoke alarms are your key to knowing if a problem has developed with the bird. This is, of course, a safety tip that will benefit your household every day.
● Play keep-away. It may seem like overkill, but make sure to keep electrical cords tucked away, safely out of reach of water or fire. The same goes for items like lighters and matches. Anything that has the ability to transmit an electric current or create a flame is an item of which to be wary when working in a bustling kitchen.
● Fabric safety is also a must. Make sure to wear snugger-fitting clothing when cooking so that no sleeves or ties have the chance of coming to rest near a lit burner–or even a decorative candle, at that. Also keep an eye that potholders aren’t placed carelessly near the stove or warmers.
● Water is NOT always the best combatant to fire. If presented with a spreading grease fire, don’t use water to put it out. Instead, smother the fire by turning off your burners and sliding a lid or pan over the fire area. Make sure not to remove your chosen cover before said fire area has cooled. Since water is made largely of oxygen, and grease fires thrive on the gas, they need to be smothered instead of doused.
Of course, there’s no way to fully control every element of your Thanksgiving. This is why it’s so important to be prepared in the case of an emergency. Prevention is important but knowing how to react is also key. Don’t be afraid to call the fire department if you’re having trouble controlling a blaze, that’s what they’re for. It’s an old but true saying – better to be safe than sorry!
Last, but not least, don’t forget to enjoy your Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday meant to bring families and friends together for a happy day of shared time. As long as you keep safety in mind when in the kitchen, you can count on a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.