Gathering around the table at Thanksgiving with a huge meal of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce is a wonderful way to catch up with family. Families often crowd into the kitchen to help with the meal, and it’s essential to make sure that everyone is aware of basic safety habits for safe cooking. The Electrical Safety Foundation International suggests that at least 2 out of every 5 fires in the home start in the kitchen, so Thanksgiving dinners must be prepared with care.
Dress Right for the Occasion
Any member of the family who might be working with the stovetop or oven (or any place where there might be flame and heat) needs to make sure his or her sleeves aren’t too loose. The cold weather outside often inspires warm clothes, but the Red Cross suggests that loose sweaters and jackets are a fire hazard in the kitchen.
Pay Attention to the Appliances
A full Thanksgiving dinner is often a juggling act that requires the use of many appliances in the kitchen. Leaving the array of burners, ovens, and microwaves alone is never a good idea. Make sure at least one person is in the kitchen at all times and shut down burners on the stovetop for absences longer than a few minutes.
Use Smart Habits on the Stovetop
If all four burners on the stove aren’t in use, employ the back burners before using the front burners to reduce the chances that a child might come into contact with a hot burner. Although the kids might have been warned about proper kitchen behavior, it’s helpful to take extra precautions.
Keep a Clear Space
Keeping the kitchen clean during a Thanksgiving dinner is usually an impossible task, but it’s important to make sure that items like potholders and napkins don’t present a fire hazard during cooking. Keep the counters as clear as possible of dishtowels and anything else that might catch fire if it’s placed next to the stove. Don’t forget to keep holiday decorations away from the stove.
Update Security and Safety Systems
All families should have a security alarm monitoring system that includes smoke detectors installed on every floor of the home and in the kitchen. Check the batteries on the smoke detectors before putting the turkey in the oven. A home security monitoring system can’t let the family know of fire if the smoke detectors aren’t operating.
Check the Fire Extinguisher
A fire extinguisher is a must inside the home. However, it’s not enough to hang an extinguisher on the wall close to the stove. Ensure that all adults who might be in the kitchen during the holiday know how to operate the fire extinguisher.
Talk to Kids About Safety
Sometimes it’s best to send the kids outside into the backyard to play during food preparation, but for older children who might want to help with the festivities, a talk about burns, fires, and kitchen safety is an essential conversation. Any member of the household who isn’t yet a teenager shouldn’t be anywhere near the stove and burners.
Taking steps to ensure safe habits during cooking, as well as testing the security alarm monitoring system to make sure the smoke detectors work, will reduce the chances that a fire may start without the family being aware of the emergency.