With Thanksgiving right around the corner, there’s certainly much to be thankful for. Whether you’re building the menu, hosting the celebration, or traveling this Thanksgiving, you can protect what you’re most thankful for by taking certain precautions that ensure a fun, safe, and enjoyable holiday for you, your friends and family, and even your pets.
Below, we’ve outlined our top tips for safely celebrating Thanksgiving with loved ones, whether you’re staying home or traveling elsewhere:
- Keep kids safe by paying special attention to hazards in the kitchen.
- Follow basic food safety rules, especially when it comes to cooking your turkey.
- Be proactive about protecting yourself from stress.
- Don’t leave cooking food unattended.
- Be aware of fire hazards while cooking and entertaining.
- Make sure your kitchen is fully equipped in case of a fire.
- Find a safe place to fry your turkey.
- Make sure your turkey has thawed and is dry before deep frying.
- Dress smart when you fry your turkey.
- Keep your pets away from dangerous and toxic foods.
- Don’t make your Thanksgiving travel plans obvious.
- Secure your home against break-ins.
General Thanksgiving Safety Tips
Thanksgiving is a special time to gather with friends and family, celebrating all that you have to be grateful for. Whether you’re hosting at your house or traveling to someone else’s, here are some general Thanksgiving safety tips to consider:
1. Keep kids safe by paying special attention to hazards in the kitchen.
Take a look around your kitchen to see what may pose a safety risk to young children, especially if you aren’t used to having kids in your house. Tuck away any loose cords, especially those belonging to tools and appliances such as electric knives, coffee makers, plate warmers, and mixers. Make sure knives are kept out of reach, along with lighters and matches. While you’re cooking, keep kids away from the stove and any hot foods or liquids. It’s also smart to keep the floor clear of any trip hazards such as toys, purses, totes, and shoes. The last thing you need is a trip and fall to ruin a fun holiday!
2. Follow basic food safety rules, especially when it comes to cooking your turkey.
Once you purchase your turkey, keep it in the freezer until a day or two before the meal when it will be served. When it’s time to defrost the turkey, make sure you’re defrosting properly; if you’ll be defrosting it in the fridge, allow one day per 4-5lbs of meat, or you can submerge a turkey wrapped in leak-proof packaging in cold water, changing the water every half hour. When it’s thawed and you’re ready to cook it, make sure you cook it to 165 degrees, using a thermometer in the thickest places of meat to be sure it’s done. Then wait about 20 minutes before carving to give the juices time to settle. Once you’re done eating, refrigerate leftovers within two hours, and eat them within three days. Of course, always use good food safety and hygiene when cooking. Wash your hands, wash cooking surfaces before and after you cook, don’t handle cooked and raw food together, and keep raw food away from vegetables and uncooked food.
3. Be proactive about protecting yourself from stress.
While Thanksgiving is a fun time to celebrate, it can also bring along its fair share of stress. Therefore, it’s smart to be proactive when taking care of your mental health. Get good rest, drink enough water, plan ahead for all you need to get done, (whether that’s hosting or packing up your family), try to have a positive attitude, and focus on the good rather than what may be stressful.
Thanksgiving Fire Safety Tips
Did you know that Thanksgiving Day sees more cooking fires than any other day of the year?* Before the fun begins, keep your friends, family, and home safe by reviewing these Thanksgiving fire safety tips.
4. Don’t leave cooking food unattended.
Stay in the kitchen if you have food cooking on your stovetop, and stay home when your turkey is cooking in the oven. If it helps keep you on track, consider using timers to remind you to check your food regularly.
5. Be aware of fire hazards while cooking and entertaining.
In the kitchen, keep any fire hazards away from a heat source. Potholders and food wrappers should stay at least three feet away from a stove, and you should never use glass dishes on a stove or burner as they might explode from the heat. Unplug any appliances you aren’t using to save energy and check to make sure they haven’t been accidentally turned on. If you do experience a kitchen fire, remember not to use water on a grease fire! Instead, smother it with a lid or use a fire extinguisher or baking soda to put it out. Lastly, never leave candles or a fireplace lit and unattended, especially around children.
6. Make sure your kitchen is fully equipped in case of a fire.
Do you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen? Does it work? Do you know how to use it? Do your smoke alarms work? These are all good things to check in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. CPI Bonus: If you have the CPI Fire Communicator and a fire alarm is triggered, an alert is sent to our Central Station, activating Real Time Response℠. Our 24/7 emergency response team then confirms the emergency and dispatches authorities on your behalf. They’ll also stay in contact with you over your panel’s speaker and/or your phone during an alarm – making sure they’re with you every step of the way. Plus, depending on the devices with your CPI smart security system, you can also create automations that will shut down your HVAC to limit fire spread, turn on lights, and unlock your door, making a more obvious exit route.**
Turkey Fryer Safety Tips
There is nothing quite like a deep-fried turkey on Thanksgiving! Before you get started, be sure to review our turkey fryer safety tips for a safe (and tasty) holiday:
7. Find a safe place to fry your turkey.
Keep your fryer outside, away from your home’s walls, and on a flat surface. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby, just in case a fire starts.
8. Make sure your turkey has thawed and is dry before deep frying.
Excess moisture on your turkey will cause the oil to bubble and perhaps spill over. If oil hits the burner, it can start a fire.
9. Dress smart when you fry your turkey.
Avoid loose-fitting clothes or long sleeves that could accidentally catch on fire, and use caution when touching the turkey fryer. Oven mitts are your best friend here!
Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips
If you have pets, they are likely one of many things you have to be grateful for this year! You can keep your pets safe and healthy just by being aware of what they shouldn’t be fed from the dinner table on Thanksgiving.
10. Keep your pets away from dangerous and toxic foods.
Dogs should never have turkey or other poultry bones, because they are hollow inside and can splinter and injure your dog’s digestive system. You’ll also want to avoid foods that can cause choking hazards such as corn on the cob. Pets also shouldn’t have fatty foods, as they can cause pancreatitis, nor should they have toxic foods, or foods that could make them sick such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, alcohol, or rising bread dough.
Thanksgiving Travel Safety Tips
If you’re planning to travel this Thanksgiving, it’s important to keep both your home and yourself safe. Whether you’re hitting the road or the skies, here are some things you can do to plan ahead and travel safely this Thanksgiving.
11. Don’t make your Thanksgiving travel plans obvious.
As much as we all love to share the joy of a holiday on social media, try to avoid posting your travel plans publicly in real-time. You don’t want to make it obvious that your house is going to be empty for several days. Have a trusted friend or neighbor pick up mail, newspapers, and packages, and even move your car if possible. Put your interior and exterior lights on timers to avoid a dark house for several days.
12. Secure your home against break-ins.
Before you leave, walk through your house to make sure all windows and doors are locked. Remove anything that could allow entry to your home, such as a ladder used to clean gutters or a low-hanging branch near a window. Never leave a key hidden outside, as burglars will often look for hidden keys to make gaining entry easy. Lastly, always arm your security system before you leave.
Protect What You’re Most Thankful For This Season
We hope you have an enjoyable, safe, and relaxing Thanksgiving with those you love most. For more information on all things safety, security, and innovation, visit the CPI blog to learn more. Sources: *National Fire Protection Association, “Thanksgiving.” **Note: This requires rules that must be set up by the customer. Additional home automation devices required. Automation features can be programmed from your computer or mobile device.