The right precautions create a safe Thanksgiving
by Courtney Warren
Nov 27, 2013 | 770 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thanksgiving Day is a day for families to gather, cook, and celebrate all that they are thankful for, however, it is also the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment.

"Kitchen fires are typically the number one cause of fires in the United States and the reason for it is because people inadvertently go off and leave the stove. The telephone will ring or someone will come to the door," said Cleveland Fire Inspector Gene Bishop.

"Never leave your stove unattended. If you're cooking stay in there with it and don’t stay gone a length of time. Sometimes time slips by and you lose track. If you run out of something you're cooking and decide to run to the store don’t leave the stove unattended," Bishop added.

Bishop also gave several suggestions for a stove that actually does catch on fire.

"If you do have a stove fire one of the easiest things to do is turn the eye on the burner off and put a pot lid on top of whatever is burning and that will take the oxygen away. "Sometimes the stoves have controls on the backside and it may be difficult to touch but if you can turn it off, and place a pot lid on and gently slide it off the eye it will go out.”

Bishop also urges citizens about the importance of safety during grease fires.

"You should never put water on a grease fire. What happens is when you throw water on the fire it will turn to steam but pick up grease particles and intensify.

"The best thing to have is a portable fire extinguisher. We recommend an ABC fire extinguisher and it would take care of pretty much anything in the home. Read the instructions, know how to use it," he said.

If a fire extinguisher is not available, Bishop said, "the next best thing to have is baking soda. It's an excellent fire extinguishing agent."

While many fires occur on the stove, oven fires can also happen.

"If you have a fire in the oven, keep the oven closed up. The fire will burn the oxygen out of the oven and the fire will go out.

"Turn the oven off — that will certainly help but don’t open the door. The oven is designed to hold heat," said Bishop.

While offices may be closed, the fire department is always available and takes calls every day of the year. If a fire begins or gets out of control, immediately call 911.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, "Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home."

Bishop said, "Keep pot handles turned to the inside because if there are young children around you could bump that pot handle and knock whatever is on the stove off."

The association also suggests kids should stay 3 feet away and to 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.

Keep knives out of the reach of children.

Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.

Never leave children alone in room with a lit a candle and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Despite Bolivar County being small and a place where "everybody knows everybody," many residents choose to travel outside of the Delta to visit family for the Thanksgiving holidays.

More than 43 million Americans are expected to be on the roads this week.

With the weather getting colder, it's important to remember to stay safe while traveling during the holidays.

"The Weather Service doesn't feel that Bolivar County should be impacted with driving problems caused by ice," said Bill Quinton,

The American Red Cross has several suggestions for save travel by automobile during the holidays such as, listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels before you get on the road.

Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in the vehicle.

For air travel the American Red Cross reminds citizens that it’s flu season. If a person has been sick or been in contact with someone who is sick, they should consider postponing the trip. A sick person could be contagious for a week before symptoms appear.

Remember that everything you touch has to be touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc.

Handle your own belongings as much as possible. Wash your hands often with soap and water.

With precaution and following safety rules, fires and accidents could be avoided.