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Thanksgiving Kitchen Safety Tips

Thanksgiving Turkey

Did you know that Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment? Whether you’re frying your bird, or roasting it in the oven, there are often so many dishes being prepared that it’s easy to lose track of one.

Here are some tips to ensure that you have a safe holiday full of family, not firemen.

Fire Extinguisher

Have a fire extinguisher handy

Hopefully you will never need it, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. When selecting a fire extinguisher, be sure to pick one that suits your needs and that you know how to use it.

Should you have a flare up or grease fire, NEVER attempt to put it out with water as the fire could spread. Instead, use an appropriate fire extinguisher (Class B), or smother it with a lid.

Smoke Detector

Check your smoke detectors

Before you start cooking, check your smoke detectors to ensure that they are working and haven’t expired.

Woman cooking

Keep an eye on things

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of Thanksgiving Day Cooking Fires.

While checking on the turkey periodically may be sufficient, other dishes, particularly those cooked on the stovetop, must be watched much more closely. It’s recommended that someone be in the kitchen whenever something is cooking on top of the stove or under high heat, such as a broiler.

Likewise, while it may be tempting to go out and do something while the turkey cooks in the oven, it’s important to be home so that you can check on it periodically and prevent any potential flare ups or fires.

Cleaning vegetables

Ensure food safety

Make sure to plan plenty of time ahead of the holiday to properly thaw your bird safely. After handling raw meat, always wipe down and disinfect surfaces thoroughly before moving on to the next item on your to-do list. For more on Thanksgiving Food Safety, check out this great resource on

Cutting vegetables

Complete cooking in stages

Let’s be honest, a Thanksgiving meal is a LOT of work. Take some of the stress out of your day by prepping as much ahead of time as possible. Some dishes, such as scalloped potatoes and stuffing can even be made days in advance and just reheated when you’re getting ready to serve!

Couple cooking together

Consider dividing the work

If other adults will be attending your Thanksgiving dinner, consider assigning them things to bring, such as desserts or sides. This way, everyone gets to try a lot of different things AND you have less that you have to make as well.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Cooking the Turkey

The star of the show on Thanksgiving is undoubtedly the turkey! While we spend a lot of time prepping and cooking the turkey, things can still go awry. Here are some tips to avoid common mistakes and hazards!

Give yourself plenty of time to thaw your turkey. Turkeys should be thawed in the refrigerator slowly over the course of a couple of days.
Make sure to cook your turkey in a sturdy vessel. If you are cooking your turkey in a disposable pan, place the pan on top of a cookie tray under the bird to add some additional stability and catch any juices that may make their way out of the pan.
Instead of stuffing the turkey, which can make getting the turkey to a safe internal temperature difficult, make your dressing on the side.

Make sure that your turkey reaches a safe internal temperature before serving (165 F) and that you’ve checked the thickest part of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. If you stuffed your bird, make sure that the center of the stuffing registers 165 F as well.

Kid helping cook

Keep children occupied

Is there a more hectic day in the life of a kitchen than Thanksgiving? We don’t think so! While we’re sure the kids want to help, it’s important to keep them away from the stove and out of traffic areas so that no one gets hurt. Try giving kids their own projects, such as setting the table, decorating cookies, and completing small Thanksgiving themed projects!

Dog trying to get food

Keep pets out of the kitchen

In addition to many traditional Thanksgiving dishes being unhealthy, or outright toxic for our pets, they can accidentally get in the way or be a trip hazard. It’s much safer for you and your pets if they are able to enjoy the holiday from a safe distance. We recommend setting up their bed in an area that will be out of the way, but where they will still have a view of all of the commotion. If your dog or cat still feels the need to check on things, giving them a new toy or treat may occupy them while you’re completing the cooking!


Take your time

Preparing a Thanksgiving Day meal for your friends and family can be a bit overwhelming, but it’s important to slow down and take your time. Rushing can result in serious injury, including burns and cuts. Your guests will be happy to wait a few extra moments.

We hope everyone has an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

As always, should you ever have a need for us, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Disaster Blaster!

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