LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Thanksgiving is a day during which families may come together, enjoy a turkey and other various dishes and talk about all the things they are thankful for. It can also turn into a day of disaster if the proper safety precautions aren’t taken.
“On Thanksgiving we get three times more fires than any other average day in the U.S. according to the National Fire Protection Association,” said Ben Bruce, 56th Fighter Wing ground safety manager. “Two-thirds of these fires are caused by unattended cooking and one-third is caused by turkey fryers. The two main reasons turkey fryers can be dangerous are because either people aren’t watching the fryer, or the fryer is located too close to a structure or maybe even inside a structure or on a patio.”
To prevent turkey fryer fires Bruce recommends positioning the fryer at least six feet from a structure as well as creating a “safety zone” around the fire.
“It’s important to make a safety zone, because it can be dangerous to children who may be playing around the area,” he said. “Also follow the manufacturer’s guidance on how to properly use the turkey fryer and you’ll reduce the likelihood of injury and lower the chance of starting a fire.”
Bruce also advises adults to create additional safety zones around the kitchen area where there may be a lot of hot food items to prevent children from getting burned.
Thanksgiving foods can also be life threatening to dogs whose owners may not know what and what not to feed them.
“Be careful when feeding your dog turkey,” said Staff Sgt. Jason De Jesus, 56th FW ground safety technician. “Make sure to take out all the bones before feeding your dog because turkey bones can splinter and cause serious damage to a dog’s intestines.”
Other foods to watch for include sage, candies or sweets, both of which can cause vomiting and other intestinal issues, and raw eggs which can cause salmonella.
One area that makes Thanksgiving Day the most dangerous holiday of the year is the number of drivers on the roadways.
“According to the American Automobile Association, around 39 to 40 million drivers will be on the road this Thanksgiving,” Bruce said. “Last year there were 450 driving fatalities on Thanksgiving Day.”
There are a few ways to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers.
Number one is getting a full night’s rest, since driving while sleepy can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving, Bruce said. Second is making sure the vehicle is properly maintained and safe to drive the distance, as well as packing an emergency kit and checking the weather. The last and most important thing is to drive sober and buckle up.
“Remember to wear a seat belt at all times because it increases the chances of survival by 50 percent when getting in an accident,” Bruce said. “And if you have pets, ensure that they are secured with a specially designed pet seat belt or a secured crate.”
Taking the proper safety measures can help ensure a positive ending to the holiday.
“Thanksgiving is a great time to bring families together to enjoy the spirit of the holiday,” Bruce said. “If you take a few precautions, whether while driving or cooking, it can have a good outcome. Follow these simple safety tips and have a happy Thanksgiving.”