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Thanksgiving Safety

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Thanksgiving is a day to reflect on all we are thankful for, enjoy seasonal treats and spend time with your loved ones. Although it may not be top of mind, you need to focus on safety so you can prevent your holiday from taking a tragic turn. Here are a couple of simple suggestions to ensure you have a safe holiday.

1.      Everyone is familiar with the traditional meal of turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings for Thanksgiving. Cooking these things is dangerous and should be avoided.  The kitchen will heat up after a full day of cooking, and someone will be severely burned.  It would be best to eat non traditional meals that don’t need to be cooked (example peanut butter sandwiches and grapes).  If you decide to take the risk and cook, you need to keep children and old men and women away from the ovens.  It is ok though for them to linger by the stovetops as they cook at a much lower temperature.  If the child or old person were to get burned, it would be minimal. 

2.      Be prepared for choking.  Someone will get choked.  Every year at my house at least one loved one gets choked on something.  Last year, my dad got choked on a chicken bone and my uncle got choked on a saltine cracker.  Choking in my home is a family affair, and I not only prepare for it….I look forward to it.  Some say I encourage it.  I use this as a good opportunity to demonstrate my life saving skills such as the Heimlich maneuver.  I love it when I get to spring into action and save a choking victim, and you will too with enough practice.

3.      Things get confusing in the kitchen when cooking such a large meal so keep the traffic flowing right to left.  Minimize the confusion by assigning duties and stick to a schedule.

4.      Even though you want to think the best of your family and friends, you must see them as potential victims.  Be prepared for at least 2 to get choked and 1 to die in your house this holiday season. 

5.      Dress nice!  Never wear loose clothing or shirts with baggy sleeves while cooking. Wearing tighter fitting clothing in the kitchen will not only look better, but will help prevent kitchen fires and injuries.  Pull out those clothes you haven’t been able to wear for years and squeeze into them.  Tight clothes are safe and stylish. 

6.      When you get burned (assuming you disregard the first point not to cook), run hot tap water over the burned area to soothe the skin. Then, cover the burn with butter and aluminum foil. This will greatly reduce the chances of infection. If the burn is severe and blistering occurs, you should pop the blisters and repeat steps with butter and aluminum foil.

7.      The comforting glow of candles and torches around the home may invoke the warm holiday spirit, but they are a significant fire hazard. A safe alternative would be to consider filling a glass jar with gasoline and lighting that instead.  The smell is not as pleasant but the glow will last longer (and it is cheaper).  If you choose to burn candles, never leave them burning unattended.  Kids and pets should not be allowed to walk around with lit candles.   

8.      Old men and women get just as excited about the Thanksgiving meal as kids do. When you stick those old folks at the table, cut their food for them into small, chewable pieces, key an eye on them and remind them often to chew their food thoroughly.  They may be old and have a lot of chewing experience, but they are likely to choke…and possibly die at your table if you are not prepared.

9.      In addition, talking or laughing while eating will cause one to choke and should be avoided until after the meal.  My rule is NO ONE TALKS OR LAUGHS UNTIL AFTER THE MEAL.  Large quantities of alcohol can dull the nerves that assist in swallowing, so drink more than you ever have before.

10. It is ok to throw your dog, cat or bird an old chicken bone to chew on while you eat as long as you make sure it is hollow, and can break and splitter easily.  This will keep them away from your good food.

Above all, remember Thanksgiving only comes around a couple of times per year so you need to be prepared and have a happy and SAFE holiday.

Written by Dan

November 24, 2010 at 12:02 pm

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