Keep your feasts festive

During the holidays, family and friends gather to celebrate. Usually, food is involved. But not all feasts turn out festive. The United States Fire Administration estimates more than 2,000 residential fires are reported each Thanksgiving, with cooking the leading cause.

“The holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time for families to be together in celebration,” said Jon Elkins, vice president of safety, training and compliance at Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “We just want them to take precautions and be safe.”

Keep your family safe during these joyful times by following some basic holiday food preparation safety tips.

Families can take steps to protect themselves and their homes from fire hazards by installing smoke alarms all over the home. Creating an escape plan for the whole family will ensure that no matter the circumstances, everyone knows how to exit safely.

While cooking in the kitchen, remember: never leave cooking equipment unattended, clean the stovetop and oven of grease and dust, use a kitchen timer to avoid forgetting food in the oven, use the back burners on the stove to avoid spills or burns, and wear short or close-fitting sleeves to avoid a fire.

When dealing with appliances, always locate them away from the sink to avoid any electrical dangers. Always plug countertop appliances into Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)-protected outlets and keep cords away from hot surfaces like a toaster. When finished with these appliances, always unplug them to not only save energy but avoid electrical hazards.

And finally, before your family sits down to enjoy the meal you prepared, be sure all appliances have been turned off.

Then you can all enjoy each other’s company during the holiday season with peace of mind knowing everyone is safe.