Family, football, food. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday for celebrating traditions and togetherness and the last thing you want to worry about is your loved ones’ health and safety. But with the cooking, travel and chaos it is advisable to consider potential hazards and take steps to prevent them.

As the Thanksgiving meal is the centerpiece of the holiday, it’s not surprising that most Thanksgiving dangers lurk in the kitchen.

Fire Safety

A big culprit for accidents and injuries during the holiday is fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires in the U.S., followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, with unattended cooking being the leading contributing factor in fire injuries and deaths.

So as you begin to plan your menu, consider the following fire safety tips:

  • If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended—stay in the kitchen. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children at least 3 feet away from a hot stove. Even the steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • If you are deep-frying your turkey, never use the fryer indoors, keep it a safe distance from buildings and flammable objects, be sure your turkey is completely thawed and dry, keep children and pets away, and be mindful of splashing or spattering oil.
  • Clear the floor so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains—away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working.
  • Never dispose of hot grease in the garbage. Instead, let it cool and then discard it in a covered metal can (like a coffee can).
  • Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it.

Food Safety

Another holiday hazard is the food we consume. Watch the video for helpful recommendations about safe food preparation practices from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

With some preparation and a few precautions, we can avoid putting our loved ones at risk and keep everyone safe and healthy this holiday. Wishing you a happy and safe Thanksgiving from TSS!