Valdosta Daily Times

November 18, 2012

Safety tips for Thanksgiving holiday

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — Every year, emergency rooms treat burns from cooking fires and firefighters have to be called to put out fires caused by turkey fryers.

It’s a good time to review some safety measures to make sure you and your loved ones have a safe Thanksgiving holiday that doesn’t get spoiled by food borne illness, unsafe cooking practices, or a lack of preparation.

• If you cook dishes a day or so ahead, be sure to refrigerate them. And never leave cooked food out for more than two hours after a meal, especially if it contains mayonnaise.

• Don’t allow small children in the kitchen when you’re cooking and never hold a small child while cooking. Stovetops, knobs and pan handles are irresistible to curious little hands, and oil or grease in a pan can splatter. Adults might feel a sting but for a small child, it could cause a serious burn.

• Only use turkey fryers outdoors, away from the house, the garage, or any overhangs. Don’t leave it unattended as the oil can combust if it gets too hot and can catch fire. Make sure the turkey is completely defrosted as the excess water mixed with the hot oil can also catch fire. And if it does, don’t try to throw water on a grease fire. Use a fire extinguisher and call 911.

• When defrosting a turkey, the safest practice is a slow thaw in the refrigerator, figuring out 24 hours for every five pounds. A 20-pound turkey would take four days to thaw, so plan accordingly.

• Clean out the innards from the turkey before cooking or stuffing. And don’t forget to check the neck cavity too.

• Never stuff a turkey the night before, even if you refrigerate it. Either cook the stuffing separately or stuff right before placing the bird in the oven.

If you plan well, you can keep your family and yourself safe from hazards and enjoy a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday weekend.