We don’t normally associate Thanksgiving with danger. But we should be vigilant about protecting our property and ourselves during this time when novice cooks are emboldened by societal pressure and a compulsive need to people please. More kitchen fires occur on Thanksgiving day then on any other day of the year. According to the Red Cross, more than 4,000 cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving day each year.
Cooking a mega-meal like Thanksgiving dinner takes expert level knowledge and years of multitasking experience around open flames.
Here Are 5 Tips to Keep Your Home and Family Safe on Thanksgiving
1) Never Deep Fry a Frozen Turkey
You might not think of it, but frozen turkeys are full of moisture. When hot oil and water mix together, it can cause an explosive reaction as the water turns to steam in a fraction of a second. Oil will be carried with the water vapor and if you’re anywhere close to it, you’ll be badly burned. Also, if you are deep frying a turkey, don’t let the oil get over 400 degrees. When oil gets that hot, it can catch on fire all by itself.
2) Remove All the Metal Brackets and Wires That Are on the Turkey
Carefully check the bird for all those tiny pieces of metal and twine which are commonly used to hold it together. How awful would it be for your mother-in-law to choke on a piece of wire in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner! Thoroughly clean your turkey before cooking to avoid any trips to the ER on Thanksgiving day.
3) Make Sure the Turkey Is Completely Cooked
It may sound rudimentary, but serving undercooked poultry is extremely dangerous. Make sure to have a meat thermometer on hand. The temperature of the bird should reach at least 165 degrees F at the thickest part of the breast and innermost part of the thigh. If you cooked your turkey with stuffing, the middle of the stuffing should be at least 165 degrees as well.
4) Don’t Eat Leftovers That Have Been Left Out for Longer Than 2 Hours
It sounds like common sense, but those leftovers say out on the table longer than you might think. After a heavy meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and dinner rolls, the last thing anybody wants to do is to start cleaning up. Often families lounge for a bit before worrying about clearing the table, and by then your food could have already gone bad. The worst part is, you won’t even realize it until the next day when folks start getting sick. Don’t let your family get food poisoning just because you wanted to lay around and watch a movie instead of put food in the fridge!
5) Don’t Talk While Eating
Surprisingly, choking is a common accident that occur during a meal on Thanksgiving. It’s certainly easy to understand why. People are surrounded by friends and family, everyone is in a celebratory mood, trying to scarf down food and catch up on the latest milestones in their lives. If someone starts choking during your Thanksgiving dinner, the Red Cross advises you to do the following, “lean the person forward and give FIVE sharp back blows with the heel of your hand. If the obstruction isn’t dislodged, give the person FIVE quick, upward abdominal thrusts.” It’s not the most attractive way to engage with your dinner guests, but it may save you from having to call 911.
Stay safe folks, and happy holidays!
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Jessica Ruane blogs about crime and public safety for the background check service Instant Checkmate. To get more advice and safety tips from Jessica, follow Instant Checkmate on Twitter or find the company on Myspace.