As the holiday season approaches, families across the United States are preparing to gather together to spend time with each other, give thanks for the positive things in their lives, and, of course, enjoy a delicious turkey dinner. As wonderful as this holiday time can be, it also presents serious dangers to families, that include fires and burn injuries.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 2,000 fires occur every year in homes on Thanksgiving. These fires result in an average of 25 injuries, five deaths, and $21 million in property damage. The following tips will help you avoid burn injuries during the holidays:
- Keep an eye on the oven - Whether the turkey is in the oven or other food is cooking on the stove top, be sure to check it frequently. Never leave the house with the oven on, and use a timer as a reminder.
- Be extra careful with turkey fryers - The National Fire Protection Association discourages the use of fryers which use hot oil to cook a turkey, since they can be very dangerous—causing severe injuries and property damage. When using a fryer, make sure the fryer is placed outdoors on a flat, level surface and that it is never left unattended. Do not use a fryer in a garage or on a wooden deck. Do not overfill the fryer with oil, and be sure to use insulated pot holders or oven mitts and, if possible, safety goggles when touching the fryer.
- Keep kids safe - Make sure children stay at least three feet away from a hot stove, or better yet, designate the kitchen as a “kid-free zone” to reduce the possibility of injuries and help adults avoid distraction. Be careful when handling hot foods around children, since steam or splashing liquids can cause burns. Keep children away from turkey fryers even after cooking is finished, since they can take several hours to cool off.
- Watch for flammable items - Be careful when using items that can catch fire, such as pot holders, dish towels, oven mitts, or grocery bags, and avoid placing them near the stove while cooking. Do not wear loose clothes while cooking, since dangling sleeves can also catch fire when they come in contact with pots, pans, or burners.
- Practice fire safety - Make sure smoke alarms are present in the house, and test them to make sure they are working. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand to use if a fire occurs, and if a fire spreads, call the fire department immediately.
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