During Thanksgiving, home kitchens become centers of activity and deliciousness. With the oven, the microwave, and every stovetop burner going, the chefs of the household will crank out dish after dish until the Thanksgiving table groans under the weight of it all. There’s always the fear that something will get forgotten in the hubbub, but one thing that mustn’t get left off the menu is kitchen safety. Busy kitchens can be a recipe for accidents. This holiday week, let’s follow the recipe for safety instead.
Recipe for Kitchen Safety
Functioning Smoke Alarms
1. Check or install working smoke alarms.
Your home should have functioning smoke alarms in every bedroom, in the hallway outside each sleeping area, and on every level. If any of these key areas are lacking an alarm, install one before your holiday guests arrive. Check all smoke alarms to make sure they’re operating correctly. Smoke alarm batteries should be tested every month and replaced once a year.
2. Test GCFIs.
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GCFIs) are a special type of outlet that trip the electrical circuit when they detect ground faults, leakage currents, or circuit overload that could electrocute someone using the outlet. GCFIs are installed in areas of the home where electricity and water may come into contact and create a shock hazard—such as the kitchen. Before you start preparing your Thanksgiving feast, check your GCFIs to make sure they’re working. Test each outlet by pressing the “test” button on its face. If the outlet is working, pressing the test button should cause the reset button to pop out. Press “reset” to reset the outlet, and then you’re good to go. Functioning GSFIs are crucial to kitchen safety.
3. Clean all cooking appliances.
Making sure all your cooking appliances are clean and free of grease and dust will help prevent fires. Clean out your oven, wipe down your stovetop, and if you have an exhaust hood over your stove, clean that out too. Continue to clean as you go so that a spill doesn’t turn into a flame. A clean work space is a safe work space.
4. Never leave cooking unattended.
When you have a house full of guests, it can be easy to get distracted by answering the doorbell to greet a new arrival or running into the living room to check the score on the big game when you hear cheers coming from the hungry spectators. Leaving something unattended on the stove for a few short moments might not seem like a big deal, but that’s exactly how accidents happen. If you have to leave the room, turn off the heat first and never let small children come within three feet of cooking appliances. For maximum kitchen safety, use a timer to make sure you don’t forget about something that has a long cooking time.
Recipe adapted from the ESFI.
Download a printable recipe for safety to keep on hand throughout the holiday season.