(This post is from 2014. Click here for our 2015 Thanksgiving post.) Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, meaning people across the country will gather together to celebrate with friends and relatives. While getting ready for your Thanksgiving festivities, it’s important to be mindful of safe practices when preparing your holiday meal and making travel plans. The Department of Public Health (DPH), Department of Fire Services (DFS), and the Department of Transportation (DOT) want to ensure that you have a fun and safe Thanksgiving. Taking a few minutes to read these tips can lead to a more enjoyable holiday.
Food Safety and Preparation
People want their holiday meal to be remembered for the right reasons. Keep in mind some important turkey tips and simple ways to avoid food poisoning or possible contamination.
- Wash your hands before touching the turkey or any other food items.
- Separate foods to avoid cross contamination.
- Plan ahead when thawing foods (a 20-pound turkey can take up to five days).
- Cook foods at safe temperatures (cook a whole turkey without stuffing at 180 degrees).
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving is a peak day for home cooking fires. Learning and understanding the basics of cooking safety can help prevent fire injuries.
- Avoid wearing loose, flowing clothing which can catch fire. It is better to wear sleeves that fit snugly against your arms, or are short enough to not go near the fire.
- “Stand by your pan.” Don’t leave anything on the stovetop and walk away from it. Ensuring that you are closely monitoring what is cooking will help cut down the changes of an accidental fire or an injury.
- If a grease or stovetop fire does occur, extinguish the flame by covering it with a lid.
- Don’t allow children or pets near the stove when cooking.
- Keep pot holders or oven mitts handy to move hot pots and pans.
- Ensure that the pots on the stove do not have exposed handles that can be knocked over when someone is passing by. Instead, turn the handles to the middle of the stovetop.
The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is a busy time. No matter what means of transportation you plan on using, taking some additional time to plan ahead can make all the difference and keep you and your family safe.
- In the event of breakdown or accident, it’s important to have an emergency car kit with you during your travels. There should be a number of items that can help you better deal with the difficult conditions including a shovel , blankets, water, and a first aid kit.
- Fill up your gas tank and prepare your vehicle for your trip.
- Don’t text and drive. Doing so is illegal in Massachusetts and it puts you at a greater risk of a car accident.
- Have a set schedule and allot extra time to ensure you reach your destination promptly.
- If flying, refer to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) tips and traveler information.
Pack smart and follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule to get through the security line faster. All liquids, including gels, creams, and aerosols, must not exceed 3.4 ounces in a container. These are also stored in a plastic bag that is no bigger than 1 quart.
Create lasting memories this Thanksgiving and surround yourself with great food and company. Be sure to follow and share these helpful tips with friends and family for a safe and healthy holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Share below or tweet us at @MassGov.
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