For most people, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during Thanksgiving. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations.
So, keeping fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during this joyous but hectic time is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 4,000 fires happen each Thanksgiving Day ― usually in the kitchen.
On top of that, AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 4.8% increase over last year. With so many people away from home, it’s common that burglaries surge during the four-day weekend, and road accidents also shoot up as more travelers clog the roads.
As you start preparing your Thanksgiving schedule and organizing that large family feast, remember, by following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire.
Here are some safety tips on this family holiday:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top, so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking the turkey, and check on it frequently.
- If you are deep-frying an entire turkey, do so outside and exercise caution and use a partner to lift the fried turkey out of the oil vat.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay at least 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee can cause serious burns.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen, and know how to use it.
- Be sure cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children – up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in a room with a lit candle.
- Keep the floor clear, so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
If you are one of those who will be traveling and not at home, you may want to follow this advice:
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Plan ahead – Know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Download the latest GPS data or obtain a new map. Check for construction detours and weather forecasts online, so you know what you are in for on the road.
Don’t announce plans on social media – This is a sure-fire way to tip people off that you will not be home, and that leaves your empty home vulnerable to a break-in.
Lower the volume on your home phone ringer – There is no need to let people outside your home know you’re away with the chiming of repeated rings.
Leave your keys with a trusted neighbor or friend – If you are going to be gone for multiple days, ask them to pick up mail and deliveries, and occasionally move your parked car around.
Don’t hide your keys outside – If someone is staking out your home, they can cover all the regular hiding places people leave spare keys.
Secure doors and windows – Make sure all of your window are locked. Move ladders or cut back house-hugging tree limbs to make sure there is no easy access to upstairs windows.
Use a few light timers -Set these timers to go on and off at various times during the evenings to make people think someone is home.
Install a security alarm system – This is a good idea for any time, as you are not always at home.