Holiday risk management

Turkey Fryer Safety (Image by Airman 1st Class Dustin Mullen)

U.S. Air Force courtesy graphic

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The arrival of the holidays often means, visiting family and friends, cooking in a chaotic kitchen, energized children and travel. Through all this dissonance and pandemonium, the holidays can be an easy time to forget risk management.

One extra step for safety can be the difference between enjoying an evening at home with family and one spent in an Emergency Room.

"Thanksgiving starts the holiday season, which typically means added stress," said Michael Trudeau, 30th Space Wing ground safety manager. "Take the time to consider the activities you have planned. Make sure your plans include a look at risk, and then make good decisions to eliminate as many as possible. Enjoy the holidays safely."     

Holiday cooking with a house full of people can be challenging and if you add children to the mix, it can mean yet another variable in an already unstable situation.

"Keep children engaged but make sure they are out of harm's way," said Trudeau. "Have children help out in meaningful ways such as setting the table and mixing ingredients. Make sure the task is age appropriate and if they aren't helping in the kitchen, keep them occupied elsewhere and out from under foot."

With the multitude of potential fire hazards in a kitchen and a conglomerate of tasks to accomplish, it becomes even more important to maintain situational awareness.

"Some of the most common ways that fires happen in the kitchen are from unattended cooking and overloading electrical circuits," said Scott Balatgek, 30th Space Wing fire inspector. "Cooking fires are always a leading cause of deaths and these types of fires are preventable."

In addition to situational awareness, proper planning is a crucial part of making the holidays safe and enjoyable.

"Take advantage of foods that can be prepped early," said Trudeau. "Don't make the menu so difficult that the stress overshadows the holiday season. When people are stressed they become distracted and make mistakes."

When the turkey is gone and travel is on everyone's mind, driving can be another potentially dangerous aspect of the holidays.

"Drivers should take into consideration the extra hazards," said Trudeau. "If you choose to drive for the holidays, be well rested, take periodic breaks, and leave enough time to get there and back safely."