Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Every year, thousands of people end up in emergency rooms on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving and the days surrounding it are some of the most dangerous for personal injury accidents. From drunk drivers leaving family get-togethers to turkey fryers causing home fires, you may have to navigate several safety risks this Thanksgiving. Reduce your risk of ending up in the hospital over the holiday with a few key safety tips.

Driving Safety

Boston is a hotspot for drunk driving. Boston, Massachusetts sees some of the highest drunk driving statistics in the state per year. Overall, in 2017, 120 people died in drunk driving accidents in Massachusetts. Seventy-five percent (75%) of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the state involved drivers with blood alcohol concentration levels of 0.15% or higher, almost twice the state’s legal limit. The total number of drivers arrested for driving under the influence in Massachusetts in 2017 was 8,665.

Keep yourself and others safe this Thanksgiving by making the responsible decision not to drink and drive. Even if you feel sober enough to drive, do not get behind the wheel if you have consumed any amount of alcohol. Driving drunk can make it impossible to react quickly or safely to changing roadway situations, significantly increasing the odds of a car collision in Boston. It also increases the risk of making poor decisions such as speeding or red-light running. If you plan on having any alcohol, arrange a sober ride home.

If you notice a driver drifting between lanes, driving recklessly or otherwise appearing under the influence, keep your distance and call 911 to report a potential drunk driver. Avoid driving late at night to decrease the risk of encountering drunk drivers. If you will be traveling to an unfamiliar place this Thanksgiving, know your route ahead of time and check the weather. Stay off the streets as much as possible if the forecast is predicting ice or snow. Try to leave early or late to avoid the bulk of holiday traffic. Always buckle up and make sure children do the same.

Cooking Safety

Cooking is often a main event during the Thanksgiving holiday. Do not let it also be the reason you or your loved ones have to spend the holiday in the hospital. Learn a few key cooking safety tips before bringing out the recipe box to reduce your odds of burn injuries, lacerations and serious kitchen fires.

  • Keep the kids out of the kitchen
  • Keep knives and dangling appliance cords out of reach of children
  • Always supervise food on grills or stove tops
  • Check on foods that are baking regularly
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by
  • Keep flammable materials, such as dish towels, away from cooking appliances
  • Wear a tight-fitting, long-sleeved shirt
  • If you are drowsy or have been drinking, do not be in charge of cooking

The National Fire Protection Association suggests against using a turkey fryer on Thanksgiving. Turkey fryers are a significant cause of home fires and serious burn injuries each year. Use an air fryer or infrared oil-less turkey fryer instead if you want the taste of fried turkey with much less risk. If you do use an oil turkey fryer, wear goggles and long sleeves. Follow the directions for the fryer exactly and position the fryer outside, at least 10 feet away from all structures.

Fire Safety

Keep your home safe from fire risks this holiday by being aware of the most common culprits. Cooking fires are the leading type of fire around Thanksgiving. In 2017, fire departments responded to 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of Thanksgiving home cooking fires. Practice fire safety by supervising the cooking from start to finish.

The basics of home fire safety include checking your smoke alarm batteries, having an evacuation plan, teaching children how to stop, drop and roll, keeping candles and lighters away from children, avoiding decorating with dried flowers or leaves, and using electric candles instead of the real thing. Check all electrical cords for cracks or damage before using them. If a fire does start in your home this Thanksgiving and you cannot put it out, evacuate the home immediately and call 911.

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