Thanksgiving is a time for relaxation and spending time with loved ones, but the holiday can become dangerous in an instant, according to the 597th Transportation Brigade Safety Officer Rupert Rose.
The holiday leave period is the second-deadliest time of year for off-duty Soldier mishaps. Only the summer months have more recorded fatalities annually.
As you take advantage of these next few days to visit family and friends, recharge for the holidays ahead or simply enjoy the downtime of a long weekend, we ask that you always keep safety in mind. Follow some basic tips to help keep the holiday fun and safe for everyone.
1. Stay in the kitchen while cooking food on a stovetop, and stay at home while food is in the oven. Thanksgiving Day ranks as the number one day of the year when home cooking fires occur, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
2. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher near the kitchen, and do not use water to put out a grease fire.
3. Have a fully stocked emergency vehicle kit in case your car breaks down while traveling.
Automobile mishaps result in more Soldier fatalities than any other type of mishap — not just during the holidays, but year-round, according to Rose.
The Army loses approximately 11 Soldiers during the holiday season and the National Safety Council estimated 515 people died in car accidents during the 2022 Thanksgiving weekend.
The risk posed by driving in winter weather conditions and around active wildlife, while important to mitigate, are secondary to the “get-home-itis” many Soldiers will experience once their leave date rolls around.
"Behavior-based errors — speeding, failure to wear seat belts, fatigue — are the most prevalent factors in automobile mishaps, with alcohol use being the greatest contributing factor in holiday leave fatalities," Rose said.
"As leaders, we take care of our people 24/7," Rose said, "Safety is the most precious gift we can give this holiday season."
Planning to deep fry a turkey?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 200 turkey-fryer incidents have occurred in the last two decades, resulting in almost $10 million in property loss, so if you are planning to deep fry your turkey there are some additional tips you should follow.
1. Stay away from the house: Set up the turkey fryer more than ten feet away from your home and keep children and pets away. Never leave it unattended.
2. Find flat ground: The oil must be even and steady at all times to ensure safety. Place the fryer on a flat, level surface and carefully gauge the amount of oil needed.
3. Use a thawed and dry turkey: Make sure your Thanksgiving turkey is completely thawed and dry. Extra water will cause the oil to bubble furiously and spill over. If oil spills from the fryer onto the burner, it can cause a fire.
4. Monitor the Temperature: Use caution when touching the turkey fryer. The lid and handle can become very hot and could cause burns. Also be sure to keep track of the oil's temperature as many fryers do not have their own thermostats.
5. Be Prepared: Have a fire extinguisher ready at all times in the event that the oil ignites. Rose recommends a multipurpose or dry-powder type.
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