Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays bring friends and family together. But they also come with several health hazards, including an increased chance of fires, food poisoning and choking.

Take a few minutes to review these safety tips, and enjoy the holidays without worry.

Fire

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that the average number of household fires increases considerably around the holidays. The two major sources for these fires are Christmas lights and cooking accidents. Be sure to check all smoke detectors & replaces batteries as needed. Don’t leave Christmas lights on when you leave the home & don’t leave the kitchen while frying and grilling. Use a timer and do kitchen checks when simmering, baking, broiling and roasting. If you are deep-frying a turkey, keep the fryer outside, away from walls, fences and other structures. Also keep the fryer away from moisture to avoid burns from steam and spattering oil.

Food Poisoning

Eating undercooked turkey can be hazardous. If a turkey is thawed at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, salmonella or other bacteria that cause food poisoning can grow. Safely cooking a turkey starts with correct defrosting. Refrigerator thawing = one day for every 5 pounds. Submerging in water = 30 minutes for every pound (water should be changed every half hour). Microwave thawing = remove any packaging and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Eating leftovers that have been improperly stored can also lead to food poisoning. Leftovers need to be put away within two hours after serving the food. They should go in the refrigerator if they are going to be eaten within three days; otherwise, they should go in the freezer.

Choking

The most common cause of choking is talking while eating. If a person is unable to cough, breathe or speak, the first thing to do is call 911. Next, the Red Cross recommends a technique called FIVE-and-FIVE for choking victims. The first step is giving the choking victim five sharp blows on the back, using the heel of the hand. If the obstruction is not dislodged by this move, the next step is to give the victim five quick, upward abdominal thrusts.

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