Don’t make Turkey Day a disastrous day

Thanksgiving is a great time to gather the family around the dinner table for a delicious holiday meal.

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is not only a day for family and giving thanks, it’s also the top day for home cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

It doesn’t take much for a disaster to occur in the kitchen and we don’t mean Aunt Ruth’s dried-out turkey. Cooking fires nearly double on Thanksgiving Day, occurring more than twice as often than on any other day, according to the American Red Cross. Cooking fires also are the No. 1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Although fire tops the list of cooking dangers, there are plenty others to be mindful of this holiday season.

“Having a fire start in the kitchen isn’t the only emergency that can occur while preparing a holiday dinner. It’s important to declare the kitchen a safety zone,” said Janet Heath, American Red Cross West Sound Service Area Director. “We suggest keeping the kitchen off-limits to children while cooking. Turn pot handles inside and keep hot pans away from counter edges. Help prevent choking by making sure children don’t walk, run, play or talk with food in their mouths.”

The American Red Cross provides these additional tips to keep you and your family safe:

• Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

• If you are simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you the stove or oven is on.

• Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

• If you must use a turkey fryer, make sure it is outdoors and in an open area away from all walls, fences or other structures that could catch on fire and away from moisture that can cause serious burns from steam or splattering hot oil. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen and use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

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