Stay Safe in the Kitchen This Thanksgiving

Holiday Cooking Safety

It’s almost time to get cooking! With turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and any other holiday favorites, the kitchen is bound to be operating at full capacity on Thanksgiving. Although Thanksgiving is meant to be a day spent thinking what you are grateful for, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), it is also the peak day of the year for home cooking fires.

We thought it was only fitting to ask Rebecca Garber, nurse practitioner at the Western States Burn Center of North Colorado Medical Center, for some tips to ensure your Thanksgiving remains nothing short of wonderful.

Cooking Safety

Rebecca explained that the NFPA provides some excellent tips for taking safety precautions when cooking:

  • Never leave the kitchen while you are cooking.
  • Keep a lid or baking soda nearby as they can both be used to smother small grease fires on the stove.
  • Store a Class B or K fire extinguisher in your kitchen, as it can also be used for larger grease fires.
  • If a fire starts in the oven, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
  • Keep the area around the stove and the oven a kid-free zone.

Turkey Frying

The NFPA strongly discourages the use of turkey fryers. Most of these fryers require large quantities of high-temperature cooking oil and the burners can ignite the oil, causing cutaneous burns and possible damage to property. If, nonetheless, you are determined to fry a turkey, follow these tips from the NFPA and U.S. Fire Administration:

  • Never put a frozen turkey in hot grease as it will splatter hot grease.
  • Never leave a turkey fryer unattended.
  • Do not overfill the cooking pot, as this will cause oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside.
  • Be extremely careful when handling the pot, lid and handles of a turkey fryer as they can become dangerously hot and cause burn injuries.

First Aid for Burns

Of course, accidents do happen. If you or a loved one accidentally gets burned in the kitchen, here are some steps to follow:

  • Cool the burn for 3 to 5 minutes after the injury occurs. Do not apply ice or ice-cold water. Once the burn has been cooled, cover the area and keep it warm.
  • Wash wounds daily and apply topical antimicrobial.
  • Follow up with your local primary care provider.
  • If you have concern for the victim’s well-being, call 9-1-1. Seek medical attention immediately if the victim has difficulty breathing, unrelenting pain or large surface area burns.

First Aid for Cuts

Although we’ve been focusing primarily on preventing and caring for burns, between the turkey carving and other chopping you are bound to be doing, we also have a few tips to care for accidental cuts:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Apply pressure to bleeding site.
  • Seek medical attention for deep cuts or excessive bleeding.

Preventing Salmonella

Don’t let food poisoning get in the way of your Black Friday shopping plans! Follow these tried and true tips for avoiding salmonella:

  • Ensure food is cooked to recommended internal temperatures.
  • When handling raw meats, promptly clean and disinfect surfaces.
  • Wash your hands often while cooking, especially after handling raw meats.

We hope practicing some of these safety tips in the kitchen, will help keep your day running as smoothly as possible. Happy cooking!

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