As a neighbor, I’d like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. And, as an insurance professional, I hope you’ll have a safe one.

Because of the Coronavirus, some families will be skipping the traditional big gathering of relatives this year while other families will stick with more traditional celebrations. That’s a decision for each family to make on their own.

But I’d like to offer some other safety tips for your consideration:

  • Keep everyone not doing the cooking out of the kitchen – especially kids and pets.
  • If kids do end up in the kitchen, keep them at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Keep electric cords clear of areas where people and pets can trip over them. And keep them out of the reach of children.
  • Don’t leave kids in rooms with lit candles.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stove top. Stay at home while cooking the turkey and check it frequently. Leaving food unattended while it’s cooking on the stove top is, by far, the leading cause of cooking fires and fire deaths.
  • Test smoke alarms in advance. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas, the day before Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas Eve.

Speaking of Thanksgiving-related fires, a special note about deep-fried turkeys.

Turkey fryers should be placed on a level outdoor surface, well away from things that can burn (including your house). Do not use your deck.

Maintain a three-foot (or larger) kid-free and pet-free zone around the fryer.

Determine the correct amount of oil to be used in advance by placing your turkey in the unheated fryer filled with water. Oil overflows caused by putting turkeys in an over-filled fryer are a leading cause of frying-related fires. The flash fire from oil overflowing because the turkey is too large for the amount of oil in your fryer will happen instantaneously and will be too intense for you to extinguish.

Do not place a frozen or partially frozen turkey in your deep fryer. Frozen or partially frozen turkeys will cause hot oil to splatter.

Turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire. Check the temperature of the oil frequently with a cooking thermometer to the make sure the oil doesn’t overheat.

Enough warnings. Have a happy, fun and safe Thanksgiving.

And here’s my Thanksgiving gift to you, one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes for your use.  Growing up in North Dakota, Lefse was always a Thanksgiving and Christmas treat.  Here’s a lefse recipe to try this holiday season!