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Hazard-proof your holidays

8 tips for a flawless feast

November 18, 2011

Carbon watch Thanksgiving turkeys cooking in the fryer,
chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
But have you considered what to do,
if your festivities go haywire?

So you’re hosting the annual holiday feast at your house this year. You’ve already bookmarked your favorite stuffing recipe, polished the silver and dusted off the turkey fryer.

Stop right there.

Take a minute to read these simple safety tips to prevent yourself - or any of your guests - from getting hurt.

  • Step away from the fryer. Literally.  Although turkey fryers cook a mean bird, they can catch fire easily. If you plan on using one, keep these simple facts in mind and maintain a safe distance while it’s cooking.
  • Hazard-proof your home. Before your guests arrive, remove floor rugs that could cause someone to fall, clearly mark steps and low walls and place gates at the top of stairwells for the wee ones. Don’t forget about outside, either. Keep your walkways shoveled and salted so guests don’t slip and fall on the ice.
  • Protect your property. Hunting season is from Thanksgiving until New Year’s. If you allow hunters onto your property, be sure you know what’s covered on your homeowners insurance policy. 
  • Find the kitchen fire extinguisher. Without making any assumptions about your cooking ability, double check to see if your smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are in working condition. It also doesn’t hurt to review the family fire escape plan.

Fast-forward to the day of your holiday party. In the midst of the pre-mealtime mayhem, keep these kitchen tips in mind:

  • Keep your sleeves rolled up. It’s a drag when you dip a loose sleeve into the gravy, but it’s even worse if said sleeve gets too close to a burner and catches fire. The same rule applies for dish towels.
  • Remember the oven mitts. No one in their right mind wants their skin to be scalding hot. Make sure everyone wears oven mitts when removing hot food from the oven and microwave.
  • Utilize stovetop space. Whenever possible, put pots and pans on the backburner and turn handles toward the back of the range. This will reduce your chance of accidental spills.
  • Consider the kids. Use non-stick placemats instead of tablecloths at the kids’ table, so accidental tugs and pulls won’t spill hot food or drinks. You may also want to tape off the area around the stove to avoid curious little fingers from getting burned
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