Thanksgiving – A Time for Family, Friends and Staying Safe

With the celebration of Thanksgiving almost upon us, Americans are loosening up their belts, anticipating the indulgence of favorite holiday pastimes – overeating and overspending. In the frenzy of all this activity, it’s easy to forget about common sense safety practices related to health and security hazards that come with the holiday. It’s also a good time to make sure your homeowners insurance is up-to-date.

Three important areas to be especially aware of are increased risks of food poisoning, kitchen fires, and criminal activities. Follow these tips during the holiday season and keep yourself and your family safe.

Food Poisoning

Here are food safety tips that will make sure your Thanksgiving meal is a no-food poisoning zone.*

• Proper defrosting method — keep your turkey refrigerated at a safe temperature (40°F) until you are ready to cook.
• Allow one day for each 5 lbs. of weight to thaw the turkey, plus an extra day or two. A twenty pound turkey will take about 4 days to thaw. After it has thawed, it is safe for another two days
• Turkeys must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
• Leftovers must be refrigerated within two hours after serving.

Fire Safety

Fact: The threat of kitchen fires triples on Thanksgiving Day. Here a few simple ways to avoid fires:

• Never leave food, grease, or oils cooking on the stovetop unattended. Unattended cooking is the top cause of cooking fires.
• Pot holders, oven mitts, food wrappers, and other flammable items should be kept away from the stove.
• Keep children away from hot stoves.
• Turn pan handles towards the back of the stove to avoid them from being knocked over and scalding people.
• Avoid wearing and loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves while cooking.

Crimes of Opportunity – Don’t Be a Victim

Shopping during the holiday season can expose you to “crimes of opportunity” danger. The holiday season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. The following tips from the Los Angeles Police Department Crime Prevention Section can help you be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season.

• Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
• Dress casually and comfortably.
• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
• Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
• Always carry your driver’s license or identification along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.
• Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
• Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
• Keep cash in your front pocket.
• Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
• Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
• Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.
• Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
• Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

Stay alert, stay safe and enjoy the holidays!

Have you had any Thanksgiving disasters? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

* http://www.foodsafety.gov/