Tips for a safe and successful holiday season

With the holiday season right around the corner, many people will be spending more time in the kitchen – preparing feasts for family and friends. During Thanksgiving, proper kitchen caution is imperative for both the cooks and their guests. (Courtesy photo)

With the holiday season right around the corner, many people will be spending more time in the kitchen – preparing feasts for family and friends. During Thanksgiving, proper kitchen caution is imperative for both the cooks and their guests. (Courtesy photo)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

With the holiday season right around the corner, many people will be spending more time in the kitchen – preparing feasts for family and friends.

During Thanksgiving, proper kitchen caution is imperative for both the cooks and their guests.

“The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during Thanksgiving,” said Michael Moran, 30th Space Wing safety technician. “Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and family at home.”

Despite all the activity typically associated with a family gathering, being cognizant of the food and visitors, specifically children, remains a key element to safe and successful meal preparation.

“Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food,” said Moran. “Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay at least three feet away. Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns. Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.”

Thanksgiving safety precautions extend not only to kitchen and food hygiene, but to fire preventative measures as well.

“The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking,” said Jason Haddock, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron risk management division chief. “Most cooking fires in the home involve the kitchen stove. Please remember to always have someone near the cooking area. If a fire does occur on the stovetop, smother the flames by putting a lid on the pan and turning the burner off. For an oven fire, keep the door closed and turn off the heat.”

With more homes utilizing deep fryers for their turkeys, safety personnel urge users to be extra cautious this holiday season.

“Deep frying turkeys is a common practice during Thanksgiving,” said Haddock. “Please remember to not put a frozen turkey in the fryer and do not overfill the fryer with oil. Please read the manufacturers guidelines for the particular fryer you are using.”

In addition to kitchen and fire safety, thorough travel preparation is vital during the holiday season – as there is a significant increase in commuter traffic.

“Inspect your vehicle before you hit the road – check the tires, wiper blades, gas, and oil,” said Moran. “Get adequate sleep before you drive. Do not drink and drive – plan ahead and ensure a designated driver is available. Also avoid medications which can cause drowsiness, read the labels and talk to your pharmacist. Don’t just stare at the road ahead. Keep your eyes moving and watch the traffic all around you. Use your rear view mirrors often to check the traffic behind and beside you.”