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Let’s Talk Turkey about Thanksgiving

American Red Cross Happy Thanksgiving
Each year there are more than 4,000 fires on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family, and good food. The Red Cross wants you to enjoy a safe and happy holiday. Eat, be merry and watch football – but not while you’re cooking! And, follow these holiday safety tips.

Fire Safety

Each year there are more than 4,000 fires on Thanksgiving Day, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. About 90% of all kitchen fires are caused by unattended cooking.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure smoke detectors are working before starting your holiday cooking.
  • Keep potholders and food wrappers at least three feet from heat sources in the kitchen.
  • Avoid loose clothing and short sleeves when cooking.
  • Turn off stoves, ovens and kitchen appliances when finished using them.
  • Set timers to keep track of extended cooking times.
  • Turn pot and pan handles inward on the stove, to avoid accidents.
  • If deep-frying a turkey, keep your fryer outside and away from buildings and other flammable materials and do not overfill it with oil.
  • State Farm’s turkey explosion video is a good reminder of why these tips are so important.
  • Create a cone of safety – Keep children and pets away from the stove and oven when you are cooking.
  • Food Safety (see more tips from the USDA)
  • If thawing a turkey in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours for every five pounds.
  • If using cold water for thawing, allow 30 minutes per pound.
  • If microwaving to thaw out a turkey, cook immediately.
  • For safety, stuffing a turkey is not recommended, cook stuffing separately instead.
  • Throw out leftovers sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Divide leftovers into covered, shallow containers, for more even cooling.
  • Use refrigerated leftovers within three to four days.
  • Health Safety

    Burn first-aid:

  • Cool off the burn with a cloth soaked in water.
  • After the burn has been cooled, cover it loosely with a bandage or clean cloth.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen for pain.
  • Watch for signs of a burn infection requiring medical attention, including increased redness, swelling, oozing and pain in the affected area.
  • For major burns, call 911. Burns that result from chemicals or electricity also require immediate attention.
  • You can learn how to respond to other emergencies by downloading the free American Red Cross First Aid App. Users receive instant access to expert advice whenever and wherever they need it. The app is available in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross or by going to

    Road Safety

    Vehicles should be in good working order before heading out. Remember to:

  • Pack emergency supplies like blankets, water and snacks, flashlight and first aid kit.
  • Fill the fuel tank, check air pressure in tires and top-off windshield fluid.
  • Buckle up and obey all traffic signs.
  • Avoid distractions while driving like using mobile phones to talk or text.
  • Designate a driver who won’t be drinking whenever alcohol is served.
  • If a night of good food and drinks has you feeling less than alert, don’t get behind the wheel of your car. Ask a friend or family member to drive or stay put! Do not be a danger to yourself or others on the road.