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Holiday food prep 

HOLIDAY GATHERINGS can generate often-retold stories of humorous kitchen disasters and burned turkey, but your family’s safety is serious business when it comes to food preparation. 

Before cooking, wipe the stovetop and oven of any grease or dust to prevent a fire. Don’t leave cooking equipment unattended—this is the leading cause of home cooking fires. Turn off burners if you leave the room. Use back burners when possible, turning pot handles inward to protect from spills or burns. 

Holiday meals often involve juggling multiple cooking tasks while entertaining family and guests. Use a kitchen timer to remind you to remove that finished dish from the oven so it doesn’t burn and create a fire hazard. 

Keep the cooking area around the stove/oven clear of combustibles like towels and napkins. Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking on the stove. Keep a close eye on children if they are in the kitchen.

Appliance safety 

Locate appliances away from the sink to avoid electrical dangers, and keep cords away from hot surfaces like toasters. Make sure countertop appliances are plugged into ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected outlets. 

Check cords of those kitchen appliances; move cords away from heat sources so they don’t melt or burn from excess heat. 

Don’t use frayed or damaged cords. Wrapped cords trap heat, which can lead to melting or weakening of the insulation, so unwrap those cords when an appliance is being used. 

Finally, if appliances are permanently plugged into an extension cord, move the equipment closer to an outlet or have a licensed electrician install new outlets where needed.

ERIC CHUMBLEY is Safety and Loss Control Manager at South Kentucky RECC. 

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