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Thanksgiving safety paramount for happy holiday

By Airman 1st Class Alexandria Slade | Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs | Nov. 19, 2014

Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas — Smoke fills the air as everyone scrambles outside and a once aromatic Thanksgiving meal turns the kitchen and eventually the rest of a family home into an inferno.  A turkey bought at the last minute is left on the kitchen counter to thaw faster and now everyone is home sick with food poisoning.

No one wants to live out these scenarios, but luckily there are methods to avoid them.
Below is a collection of safety tips and Joint Base San Antonio specific statistics from the 502nd Air Base Wing Safety office to help military members and their families avoid mishaps during the holiday season.

· Over the past year, three kitchen fires have taken place in Joint Base San Antonio. Though none of these happened during Thanksgiving, cooking fires nearly double on Thanksgiving Day.

· Never leave a stove unattended if frying, grilling or broiling food. Check food regularly.

· Keep the floor clear to avoid tripping over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.

· Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing while cooking, as it can easily catch fire.

· Keep flammable materials away from the stove.

· While the kitchen is a busy place with more people than normal preparing food on Thanksgiving Day, it's important to keep children away from cooking areas to avoid burns, tipped pots of hot liquid and sharp or heavy objects. Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove so that children can't grab them.

· Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

· Ensure there is a working smoke alarm system in the home.

· Use a turkey fryer outdoors only.

· Ensure all smoking materials have been extinguished after Thanksgiving guests leave. 

· There are three methods of thawing a turkey that increase the risk of salmonella poisoning: Thawing at room temperature - thawing for more than two hours may lead to food poisoning, thawing in the microwave and thawing in cold water. If turkey is thawed in water any warmer than 40 degrees, it increases the chances of bacteria multiplying.

· As guests are coming or going, ask that they dress according to the weather conditions and pay attention while crossing roadways to hurry out of the cold.

· At the end of the meal, ensure pets are not given table scraps, leftovers, raw or undercooked turkey, turkey bones or stuffing as onions and garlic can be a detriment to a pet's digestive system.

For those who may not be travelling to see family for Thanksgiving or preparing their own meal, activities around JBSA are available to create a happy holiday away from home.

Upcoming Air Force activities include Operation Home Cooking, a program that allows area families to host a basic trainee and a Wingman for Thanksgiving from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Those interested can call 671-5453/5454/3701 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

A similar program called Mission Thanksgiving for the Army is available for those who would like to host Soldiers from the training taking place at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. For more information, call 808-7001/7002.