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Cook Up a Safe Holiday

Follow these tips for a safe and happy family gathering this Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving may be a day to show gratitude and eat some great food, but it’s also hectic and stressful, especially if you’re hosting. Aside from cooking and preparing the house for guests, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Here are some ways to keep your guests safe, stuffed and smiling this holiday.

Don’t Wing It

It’s easy to get distracted on such a busy day, but the kitchen is the last place you need your attention to wander. According to the National Fire Protection Association, home cooking fires are most likely to happen on Thanksgiving. Stay in the kitchen close next to cooking food to make sure it isn’t burning. Make sure smoke alarms are working properly in advance, and always keep an eye on children.

Bird Is the Word

Dreaming of making that perfect dinner your guests will talk about for years to come? Giving your guests food poisoning will keep them talking, but not in the way you’d like. That turkey in your freezer may be crawling with bacteria, so it’s important to take extra precautions when preparing it. The USDA recommends thawing a frozen turkey in the refrigerator for one to two days. Always read labels for expiration dates and cooking and thawing instructions.

Wash any plates or utensils the turkey touches before using them again, and never wash the turkey itself. That just spreads bacteria onto other surfaces. The only way to kill the germs is to fully cook your turkey. The USDA recommends cooking the turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees and using a kitchen thermometer to ensure thorough cooking.

Celebrate Responsibly

AAA predicted that 51 million people would travel for Thanksgiving last year. With busier roads, it’s better to take extra safety precautions than risk tragedy. If you’ll be serving alcohol at your feast, it’s important that your guests drink responsibly. Have guest rooms prepared with extra beds, air mattresses or sleeping bags at the ready for guests who shouldn’t drive. Establish designated drivers before the party starts, and don’t be afraid cut off access to the alcohol.

Recognizing the importance of safety could be the difference between a happy holiday and a Turkey Day tragedy. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind this Thanksgiving.

Serve up Safety

Cooking at home this year? Make sure you’re prepared for any kitchen accidents. Start with clean surfaces free of grease and dust. Keep your sleeves short or rolled up tightly, and never leave food unattended. Smoke detectors should be tested regularly. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and learn how to use it.

Don’t Wing Things

Deep frying turkey has become a popular Thanksgiving cooking method. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends purchasing a turkey no larger than 12 pounds, since smaller turkeys fry up best. Set up the fryer outdoors, more than 10 feet away from your home on flat ground. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry, or excess water will cause hot oil to spill over. Always keep an eye on children and pets.

Lock It Up

If you’ve got holiday travel plans, keep your home safe from break-ins. Lock all doors and windows, and turn your home phone’s volume down so no one hears unanswered phone calls. Bring all valuables with you or lock them in a secure place. Never leave keys under a doormat; leave them with a nearby family member or trusted neighbor instead.

How do you keep your home safe during the holidays? Tell us in the comments!

Let AAA help protect your home with a homeowners insurance policy customized just for you. Get a free quote at AAA.com/Insurance.

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