Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - November 2014

Thanksgiving is all about food and family- turkey, stuffing, pecan pie and football.  I couldn’t be more excited.  However, preparing holiday goodies can lead to disaster.  Despite what my family may think at times, the smoke alarm isn’t a dinner bell.  In fact, the kitchen is the setting of more fires than any other room in the house, and cooking is the leading cause of fires in the home.  

While I can’t give you advice on how to keep that turkey moist (you will need to call Butterball for that); I can provide you with some tips to help prevent your holiday meal from being referred to as “remember that time…”  

Start by making sure you aren’t wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking, and never leave cooking food unattended.  If you must leave, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove. 

Other safety steps include:

  • Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
  • Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire - pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from the stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  • Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
  • Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
  • Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

Even with the best of plans, accidents happen.  I have downloaded the Red Cross First Aid app on my smartphone so that I can have instant access to the information I need to handle the most common first aid emergencies.

Hoping everyone has a fun, safe and thankful holiday season.


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