Turkey Day Safety
When all the family is around, it's also a great to gather everyone's phone numbers, e-mail addresses, text messaging addresses -- the first steps to a family communications plan.
Holiday weekends are wonderful occasions to get together with family, relax, and reconnect with friends. Safe travel, safe cooking and safe eating will ensure a Thanksgiving that's memorable for all the right reasons!
If you're traveling by car Thanksgiving weekend, take these tips from the Maine State Police:
- Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter weather with winter tread tires, updated windshield wipers, and that the heater, defroster, lighting and battery are in good working order.
- Equip your vehicle with a blanket, shovel, booster cables, flares and a bucket of sand or salt for winter emergencies.
- If you need emergency help on the road, call 911 on their cellular phone to be connected to the nearest State Police communications center
- And finally, if you're driving:
- Be well rested
- Avoid drinking and driving, and
- Expect some delays during the weekend.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the USDA offer reminders on food safety:
- Thaw a frozen turkey in the regrigerator, using cold water, or a microwave. Never thaw the turkey on the counter at room temperature. Thawing takes place from the outside in. At room temperature this allows the bacteria on the surface of the bird to grow during the thawing process.
- Whenever possible, avoid buying a stuffed turkey. Buy the bird and stuff it yourself, right before cooking.
For more information about turkey safety, call USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555 or visit the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Turkey Page (link is below).
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fires on Thanksgiving Day. Cooking fires nearly double on Thanksgiving Day, occurring more than twice as often as on another day.
The [American Red Cross](http://www.redcorss.org] offers some tips for safe cooking on Thanksgiving. Here are the top five:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, boiling, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
- Keep kids away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of three feet around the stove.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top and oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
For more tips on keeping Thanksgiving a joyous occasion, see the links below.
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