Celebrate Thanksgiving Safely

Thanksgiving is a fun and festive kickoff to the holiday season. But with all the activity in the kitchen and throughout your home, you need to make sure to take precautions that keep everyone safe.

The National Fire Protection Association offers some tips for preventing home fires and other dangers during your Thanksgiving celebration.

  1. Stay in the kitchen when food is cooking. Always keep an eye on what you are preparing.
  2. Stay home while the turkey is cooking, and check on it often.
  3. Keep children at least three feet away from the stove and other hot appliances.
  4. Keep kids away from hot food and liquids. Steam and splashes can cause severe burns.
  5. Keep the floor clear to prevent slips and falls.
  6. Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  7. Make sure electrical cords from small appliances are not hanging off of countertops or within reach of children.
  8. Matches and utility lighters should be kept up high or in a locked cabinet.
  9. Never leave children alone with lit candles.
  10. Make sure your smoke alarms are in good working order.

It is also important to make sure that the food you prepare is safe for your guests. The USDA offers some Holiday Food Safety Tips focusing on four basic steps: clean, separate, cook and chill.

  • Clean

First, make sure your hands are clean before handling any food. Wash all surfaces that will come in contact with food (cutting boards, dishes, utensils, countertops), and thoroughly rinse fruits and vegetables.

  • Separate

Keep foods that won’t be cooked separate from raw eggs, meat, poultry or seafood. Use separate utensils and cutting boards for all of these items, as well. Do not put cooked meat or other food that is ready to eat on an unwashed plate that previously held raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood or their juices.

  • Cook

Make sure meat, poultry and fish are cooked properly by using a food thermometer. To check a turkey’s internal temperature, insert the food thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickets part of the breast. A turkey is considered safely cooked when it reaches 165°F. Stuffing should also be cooked to 165°F.

When reheating sauces, soups and gravies, be sure to bring them to a full boil. Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm.

  • Chill

Refrigerate any type of food that needs refrigeration within two hours of being put out. Keep your refrigerator set at or below 40°F and the freezer at 0°F. Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator, under cold running water or in the microwave. Don’t thaw food at room temperature. A 20-pound turkey needs four to five days to thaw completely in the refrigerator!

Use all leftovers within three to four days, or freeze them immediately.

What do you do to ensure your Thanksgiving guests are safe in your home? How do you make sure your Thanksgiving feast has been prepared safely? Tell us about your Thanksgiving celebration!