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Thanksgiving Safety Tips, Hanukkah too!

turkey fire

Turkey time! There’s no other day of the year when more American’s eat the same food than Thanksgiving. And this year, with Hanukkah commencing at the same time, the festivities and kitchen activities will be over the top – and that’s why we’re suggesting some thanksgiving safety tips, Hanukkah, too!

First of all, use some common sense – there are tons of articles throughout the world wide interweb filled with all kinds of advice – but often missed is this key issue: THINK before you act. Gonna fry a turkey? Where are the kids? Do you have a fire extinguisher handy? If something were to go wrong, you’d know all of these things in hindsight – so let’s try to focus on the here and now – and prevent a potential disaster.

There are many ways to prepare a turkey. Many people love a deep fried turkey – but using an oil filled fryer is a disaster in a can. If you must, cook the bird outside, and not on a wood deck, either. Make certain the turkey is properly thawed – as a frozen turkey can send boiling oil all over if it’s still frozen inside. Some other tips include:

  • Keep fryer in full view while burner is on as well as as after cooking until the grease is completely cooled;
  • Place fryer on a level place, away from the house, garage or deck, as well as away from all walls, fences or other structures;
  • Use a large measuring container and fill the fryer with water – then put the turkey in, so you know exactly how much oil will be needed.
  • Raise and lower food slowly to reduce spatter and avoid burns;
  • Cover bare skin when adding or removing food;
  • Check oil temperature frequently;
  • Turn off flame just prior to dropping turkey into the oil. Once turkey is dropped in the oil, it is safe to relight the burner;
  • Make sure there is at least 2 feet of space between the liquid propane tank and fryer burner;
  • If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn gas supply off;
  • If a fire occurs, immediately call 911. Do not attempt to extinguish the fire with water.

Remember this: dozens of people died in 2012 due to kitchen fires at this time of year.

burned out kitchen

Actor William Shatner and State Farm Insurance have collaborated on a fun film that demonstrates the issues a turkey fryer may create…

And while we’re talking about cooking, if you’re preparing a Hanukkah meal – or any meal for that matter, give these basic cooking ides some thought:

  • Don’t leave the kitchen with pots & pans cooking on the stove. Make sure to turn off burners as soon as you take the pot off.
  • Avoid wearing inappropriate clothing while cooking. That means loose sleeves and sweaters.
  • Keep dish towels, pot holders and oven mitts away from the stove.
  • Keep matches and lighters in high places where curious little hands can’t reach them.
  • If using candles in the kitchen, don’t leave the room (or home) while they’re burning. Make sure they are in a safe place and are in flame proof containers.
  • Check furniture, curtains, dish towels, etc. to be sure they are not blocking heaters or vents.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen, but not near the stove or the heater.
  • In case of a grease fire, use salt and/or baking soda will help if you do not have a fire extinguisher. Do NOT use water.
  • Keep emergency numbers handy – 911 is easy to remember, but phone numbers to Poison Control might take longer.
  • Scalding is one of the most common injuries in the kitchen. Make sure to turn pot handles away from the front of the stove and away from little curious hands.
  • Scalding can occur from hot steam as well. Be careful when lifting lids from hot food (including opening that hot bag of microwave popcorn)!
  • Handling Knives: (a) Always cut away from your body when using a knife. It can slip and cut you, (b) Always use a cutting board, (c) Protect your counter tops, (d) Keep blades sharp, (e) Keep knives clean (including handle) – slippery handles can cause injuries, (f) Don’t put knives in a sink of soapy water – they may not be seen and accidents can occur, (g) Wash and dry carefully keeping sharp edge away from your hands, (h) Always lay them flat, never on the back or edge, (i) Don’t attempt to catch a knife as it falls – better it hits the floor than cut your hand, (j) Wash knives with warm soapy water after each use.
  • Be sure appliances are unplugged before touching sharp edges (blenders, can openers, mixers, etc.).
  • Never stick a fork in a toaster to retrieve trapped toast.
  • Always be sure the blender is unplugged before touching the blades.
  • Be careful about sharp edges: scissors, broken glass, potato peeler, etc.
  • Never ever, ever leave cooking foods unattended – not even for a minute.
  • Casualness causes casualties – don’t answer or talk on the phone while cooking – you can be distracted and injuries can result. Let someone else talk until you can leave the cooking in someone else’s care.
  • Clean up spills immediately – wet floors are slippery when wet.
  • Keep young children out of the kitchen while cooking. Pets, too!
  • Always use a step-stool to reach high places.
  • Store cleaning supplies and all chemicals in a safe place. Use safety latches.

The holiday season is supposed to be fun. Keeping these tips in mind will help you keep it that way. Enjoy! And remember to visit MySafe:LA for the latest information on fire and life safety education.

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