Thanksgiving is almost upon us and to make sure you, your family and friends stay safe, we’re talking turkey day do’s and don’ts.

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. And with Thanksgiving being the Super Bowl of the hungry holidays, cooking with care and caution is more important than ever, especially the day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving day, two of the peak times for home cooking fires.

But not to worry, slip into your stretchy pants and relax as we walk you through a few safety tips.

THIS IS A TEST!

Before any baking, broiling or basting begins, make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Test them by pushing the test button. Yeah, we know, its loud and annoying but it could be a life saver.

Increased or long-term use of a gas oven (like cooking a turkey and all the trimmings) can create a carbon monoxide hazard if the appliance is not properly installed, maintained, or serviced.

STAY PUT!

It might sound silly to say, but don’t leave home while cooking your turkey. Popping the bird into the oven and then making a quick trip to the mall is a no-no. If you’re cooking on the stovetop, keep even closer. Stay in the kitchen so you can keep an eye on the food, and on Aunt Sally. She’s the reason the potato salad is always too salty. If you’re sleepy or have had a few holiday cocktails, it might be best to avoid the stove or stovetop altogether.

KIDS!

Keep children away from, well, almost everything!
A hot stove and kids is a potentially dangerous
combination. Boiling liquids, hot food and searing pans and trays can lead to serious burns. Children should be kept
at least 3 feet away from the stove. Matches and lighters,
which can be hard to resist for a curious child, should be
safely stored away.

UTENSILS & APPLIANCES!

Be sure electric cords from,
coffee makers, plate warmers or mixers are not dangling
off the counter. And exercise extra caution with knives.
Thanksgiving is not the time to show off your mad slicing
and dicing skills. Slow and steady wins the race and
keeps you in the ten fingers club!

KITCHEN CLUTTER!

Keep the floors clear so no one face
plants over toys, purses, grocery bags, boots, shoes, a
lazy dog or a tipsy relative. You know who you are,
Uncle Tim!

OPEN FLAMES!

Lit candles may add a touch of elegance
and drama, but is it really worth it when Mr. Whiskers
walks by, with that big fluffy tail, and accidentally knocks one
over? That’s the kind of drama you don’t want. Opt for
battery operated candles. Same beautiful glow, without
all the, “Hey, my cat is on fire!”

DEEP FRIED DANGER!

Deep-frying turkeys has become
increasingly popular. It requires dunking the bird into
several gallons of hot oil, heated by propane. Unless you
really know what you’re doing, leave it to the experts. But for those who insist on being the family fryer:

  • Do not overfill the fryer. Spilling hot oil could lead to fires, burns, or other injuries.
  • Fryers should be used outdoors, on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings. Never use on a wooden deck, under a patio, in a garage or enclosed space.
  • Turkey must be completely thawed before frying.
  • Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat, to the point of combustion.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after. The oil can remain hot for hours.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Keep all-purpose fire extinguishers nearby.
  • Use well-insulated potholders and wear long sleeves and safety goggles to protect from splatter.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and whether you’re a family of 2 or 62, these tips will help you get your gobble on in a safe and sane way. This year, let Grandpa’s 4th wife be the only surprise at your family feast.

By Patrick Stinson