Advice On How To Avoid A Thanksgiving Emergency; Gobble Up Safety On Thanksgiving Day!

"Gobble Up Safety" poster by the USCPSC

WASHINGTON — For millions of people, Thanksgiving starts in the kitchen. Unfortunately, so do many safety risks, such as cooking fires. Emergency physicians offer a few health and safety tips to help you avoid a trip to the ER this holiday season.

Research from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reveals that in 2017, on average, U.S. fire departments responded to a home fire every 88 seconds. And, Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for cooking fires.

“A few simple steps can ensure that you spend Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones, not in the emergency department,” said Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “Try to avoid doing too many things at once; burns, fires or lacerations happen when you lose concentration, get careless with hot liquids or oils, or try to slice things too quickly.”


  • Make sure you have smoke alarms installed near the kitchen, bedrooms and on each level of the home. Test batteries and make sure that the devices are fully operational.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Contact your local EMS department for tips on proper training and storage.
  • Avoid loose clothing or wearing anything that dangles while cooking.
  • Keep an eye on simmering pots as well as items baking in the oven.
  • Keep kids and pets away from cooking areas.
  • Clean cooking areas regularly. Grease build up is a health and safety hazard.
  • Double check when you are done cooking that you have turned off the stove, oven or any appliances.
Hand with a third degree burn after accident with oil during cooking. This picture was taken the day after the accident. The hand has been enclosed in a bag for 24 hours. The wound should be cleaned and lubricated with antibacteria cream.


  • Do not throw water on a grease fire. The safest and fastest way to extinguish a grease fire is to remove oxygen from the flame. The best ways to do that are to smother it with a lid, another pot or a blanket. If the fire is not severe, you can cover it with baking soda.
  • Do not put a frozen turkey in the oven. Thaw and dry it first.
  • Never deep fry a frozen turkey, it should be completely thawed out first. And, frying a turkey should be done outside on a flat, non-flammable structure.

Other steps you can take to ensure a safe Thanksgiving feast include:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly when handling uncooked meat and keep it separate from other foods.
  • Sanitize any surface that touches raw food. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that oven temperatures should be no lower than 325 degrees.
  • If you have allergies and you did not cook the meal yourself, remember to ask about the ingredients and how food was prepared. Refrigerate all leftovers within 2 hours.
  • Pace yourself when a big meal is involved, whether you are preparing, eating or cleaning up afterward. Chew slowly and carefully to avoid choking. Cut food into small pieces and make sure children are sitting calmly while eating.
  • If food gets stuck, don’t panic. Relax and take a drink of water. If you can’t breathe, bang on something, or do anything you can to get attention and get help. Have somebody call 911 while somebody else, preferably a person who is trained in emergency first aid such as the Heimlich maneuver, tries to dislodge the food.
  • If your gathering includes alcoholic beverages, drink in moderation. And of course, do not drink and drive.

More health and safety tips can be found at

ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.

Source: American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)




Gobble Up Safety On Thanksgiving Day!

WASHINGTON — Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude, family, friends, and, of course, food! Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Turkey Day –the leading day for home cooking fires!

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates an average of 1,800 cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day each year;  three times the number on any other day of the year. And, cooking fires are the number one cause of residential fires.

Turkey Day is almost here. Are you ready to gobble up …safety?

Follow these TIPS:

  • Never leave food on the stove or in the oven unattended.
  • Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and long sleeves that can easily catch fire while cooking.
  • Keep children away from the cooking area; watch them closely if they insist on being mini chefs.
  • Keep flammable items like potholders and paper or plastic bags away from the stove and oven.
  • Turn pan handles toward the back of the stove to prevent accidental knock overs.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of the home, and inside and outside bedrooms.

Also, keep safety in mind when using a turkey fryer. A TURKEY FRYER can go from start to fire in less than a minute. CPSC’s demo shows how fast this can happen.

CPSC staff is aware of 216 fire or scald/burn incidents involving turkey fryers that occurred in the last two decades (between 1998 and 2018.) These incidents resulted in 81 injuries and more than $9.7 million in property loss.

If putting some yummy in your tummy includes frying a turkey, do it ONLY OUTSIDE and AWAY from your home. Away from your home means NOT inside your garage or on your porch. Do not overfill the oil in the turkey fryer, and always keep an eye on the bird when it is in the fryer.

Let your Thanksgiving Day be full of thanks, and make sure you gobble up safety!

Share CPSC’s downloadable Cooking Safety video and poster, and turkey fryer fire demo video:

About U.S. CPSC:
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction.  Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals – contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.

Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.

For more lifesaving information, follow us on Facebook, Instagram @USCPSC and Twitter @USCPSC or sign up to receive our e-mail alerts. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to or call CPSC’s Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired.

CPSC Consumer Information Hotline
Contact us at this toll-free number if you have questions about a recall:
800-638-2772 (TTY 301-595-7054)
Times: 8 a.m.5:30 p.m. ET; Messages can be left anytime
Call to get product safety and other agency information and to report unsafe products.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission


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