In a few days, some of you will be taking to the highways to head home or maybe on vacation for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Others will be preparing meals for guests or deep frying turkeys in vats of peanut oil. There is a lot of activity happening in most people’s lives in the next week and although we look forward to the festive feasting and fun aspects of the holiday, safety-wise and statistically there are a few things that you will need to look out for:
- TIME TO MAKE THE TURKEY – According to the American Red Cross, cooking fires nearly double on Thanksgiving Day, occurring more than twice as often as on any other day. Maybe it is because turkey is not something that is on our weekly menu and it needs special handling. Maybe it is because we often have so much to do to prepare for our feast that we are distracted while cooking. But whatever the reason, the last thing you want is an emergency room visit, or a house fire on the holiday. So here are some common-sense holiday cooking tips.
- Don’t leave your cooking unattended whether you’re frying, grilling or broiling your food.
- If simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home while cooking, and use a timer so you don’t forget the stove or oven is on.
- Clean cooking surfaces before you begin to cook. Most kitchen fires are due to grease buildup in ovens and on stove tops.
- Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Learn how to use it.
- If deep frying a turkey (and the National Fire Protection Association recommends that you do not cook it this way) but if you do, make sure the turkey is completed thawed and toweled dry; make sure the fryer is not filled with more oil than you need since this can cause spillover, and do not fry near decks, overhangs, trees or children.
- Prepare the turkey as instructed on the packaging, or if confused refer to the dozens of websites (Including “Butterball”) that supply instructions on how to “safely” cook a turkey. No chef wants to end their holiday with family members rushing for the bathroom.
2. ON THE ROAD AGAIN – According to the American Automobile Association 43.5 million Americans will take to the roadway, railway and skies in the days surrounding Thanksgiving.
- Carry-Ons - Most airlines restrict carry-on bags to 22" x 14" x 9" or a total of 45". Don't even think of taking that big 26 inch on board. You will get flagged.
- Check One Bag – In the U.S. the weight of the bag you check can be up to 50 pounds for without incurring an overweight fee.
- Those Extra Inches and Moments Count – It is absolutely worth the extra fee to book seats on an airline that, for an additional fee, give you more space/legroom or priority boarding. Space is a premium on planes, especially during the cattle car jam packed Holidays. Carry on space goes quickly and the difference between comfortable and uncomfortable can be just a matter of inches.
- Make sure the vehicle is in good working order.
- Start out with a full tank of gas, check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full.
- Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during the most popular times of the year. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
- Keep anything of value in the trunk or covered storage area.
- Pack a winter safety kit for the car. Don't leave without the essentials for a safe road trip — a cell phone (don't forget the car charger); ice scraper; tow rope and jumper cables; sand or cat litter to aid with traction; blankets; flashlights, matches and emergency candles; first aid kit; portable radio; and a good book, in case you do get stuck.