Holiday Safety Tips

Many of you will travel to spend your Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday with loved ones, and many will host family and friends at home. The Billy Johnson Law Firm wants to share some safety tips to help our friends and neighbors have a wonderful time during the upcoming holidays, no matter where you spend them.

Many Kentuckians enjoy preparing their Thanksgiving turkey using a gas-fired fryer instead of baking it in the oven. The quick cook time, juicy meat and crispy skin are appealing reasons for using a deep fryer. Less attractive are the associated risks.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says deep fryer fires cause an average of 5 deaths, 60 injuries and more than $15 million in property damage each year.

Thanksgiving Cooking Tips

In order to accommodate the average size turkey, deep fryers have to be able to hold a large amount of oil (approximately 5 gallons). Designed for outdoor use, turkey fryers require a connection to some type of gas source (most often propane) that heats the oil to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The biggest danger is that the heated oil can be ignited by the open flame. It only takes a small quantity of oil to splash onto the gas for the results to be devastating. This can happen very easily if it’s raining or snowing, if a partially thawed or unthawed turkey is used, if the oil is overfilled, or if the turkey is carelessly dropped into the fryer.

Furthermore, people have suffered severe burns after tripping and falling in or against the fryer. Serious property damage has occurred from fires that took place in a garage or on a patio. Turkey fryers should not be used in closed spaces and should be kept off all wooden structures, like patios and decks. A fryer in use should never be unattended and a fire extinguisher should be readily available. Fires have been so prevalent that an oil-less fryer is now available that cooks the turkey with infrared waves.

Those who choose the hot oil route should consider these guidelines:
  • Get a fryer with a sealed lid.
  • Don’t improperly thaw the turkey.
  • Dry the turkey before putting it in the hot oil.
  • Don’t overfill the oil.
  • Cook in an open area away from trees, buildings and fences.
  • Don’t use ice to cool the oil.
  • Cover all bare skin when dunking or removing the turkey.
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Do not leave the fryer unsupervised.
  • Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
  • If the oil begins to smoke, turn the gas off immediately.
  • Do not spray water on any fire.

Other Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

Cooks should avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while preparing the holiday meal. Never leave the stove unattended. If the cook has to leave the kitchen, even for a short time, they should turn off the stove. More cooking safety steps are:
  • Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
  • Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
  • 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 regularly to prevent grease (and germ) buildup.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen.
  • Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.

Christmas Tree Safety

When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “fire-resistant.” When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, with needles that are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. More tree safety steps are:
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators and portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
  • Diagonally cut at least an inch off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
  • Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly.
  • Make sure the base is steady so the tree won’t tip over easily.

General Holiday Safety

Most of these are just common sense suggestions. But with so much upcoming activity, we all can use a reminder.
  • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S.
  • Test your smoke alarms, and let guests know what your fire escape plan is.
  • Electric toys should be UL/FM approved.
  • Place older ornaments and decorations that might be painted with lead paint out of the reach of small children and pets.
  • Poinsettias are known to be poisonous to humans and animals, so keep them well out of reach, or avoid having them.
  • Avoid using tinsel. It can fall on the floor, and a curious child or pet may eat it. This can cause anything from mild distress to death.
  • Inspect wrapped gifts for small decorations, such as candy canes, gingerbread men, and mistletoe berries, all of which could be choking hazards.
  • If you plan to travel for the holidays, don’t discuss your plans with strangers, and ask a trusted friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your home.

Happy Holidays!

If you have questions or would like to speak to someone at our firm, please call us at 606-437-4488 or fill out our online contact form.

Attorney Billy Johnson

William “Billy” Johnson grew up in the Dorton area of Pike County, Kentucky, and early on decided to stay in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. Like many others in Eastern Kentucky, Billy’s dad worked as a coal miner, a hard job but one that taught his son how to meet challenges head on and persevere. Attorney Billy Johnson has years of experience helping injured clients with claims such as car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, wrongful deaths, work injuries, and more. [ Attorney Bio ]

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