Thanksgiving is a joyous occasion, but can also be fraught with unpleasant accidents. Turkeys and decorations that catch fire, falls on icy porch steps, and illness from improperly cooked food can be, unfortunately, a few of the hazards of an improperly planned holiday. Staying safe this Thanksgiving won’t take a huge amount of work – just follow these simple steps to keep your holiday celebration on track and free of accidents or illness.
1. Safe Decorating
Never set candles near flammable objects such as table cloths, curtains, or paper decorations, and never leave a lit candle unattended. Keep all potentially dangerous decorations away from small children and animals. Do not place any decoration close to a fireplace or other heat source. Use only lights made specifically for indoor use inside of your home, and only outdoor lighting for your exterior decorating. Make sure all exterior decorations are properly secured to avoid wind damage or contact with snow, ice, and standing water.
2. Safe Exterior Preparation
Be sure to keep all walkways neatly shoveled and free of snow. Treat any icy areas with special salt made specifically for that purpose. Provide all of your guests with snow- and ice-free parking spaces. If stairs lead into your home, make sure that there is a sturdy, properly installed handrail available for any elderly or disabled visitors.
3. Safe Food Handling and Preparation
Always thaw food in the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave. Never defrost food at room temperature. Keep all surfaces and utensils clean, especially those used in raw poultry prep, and use paper towels in lieu of sponges or rags for surface cleanup. Cook all foods at the required temperature and for the required length of time and check your turkey with a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached safe temperatures before serving. Do not try to deep-fry a turkey indoors. Use a proper deep fryer outdoors, and never leave it unattended. Refrigerate all leftovers in a covered, shallow container within two hours of cooking, and always make sure to bring reheated leftovers up to 165 degrees before eating.
Although accidents can occasionally still happen despite our most careful precautions, following these safety tips will help ensure your Thanksgiving is all about happiness and gratitude rather than burned food or accidents. Stay safe this holiday season and enjoy the bounty and blessings it has to offer!
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