Blog: Nothing Goes Better with Turkey than Safety and Manners

Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

Thanksgiving signifies the beginning of the holiday season, and many of us will be spending more time in the kitchen preparing for the holidays. Below are some safety tips while cooking your Thanksgiving meal.

There are more in-home fires during the holiday season than at any other time of the year. Thanksgiving is the single worst day for fires!

Facts about cooking safety:

• Be careful wearing loose clothing around open flames on the stove.

• Use a timer and use Post It notes to remind yourself of cooking times in the oven.

• Be careful using candles at the dinner table (especially if toddlers are present).

• Use oven mitts when handling hot pots and pans.

• Do not cool hot pans with water if grease is in them.

• Have a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it.

• Stay alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not use the stove or stovetop.

• Is that smoke detector properly working?

If you have a cooking fire, just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

Nothing goes better with turkey than manners!

Remember, bad manners can make a delicious meal bad. Here are some things to help maintain civility:

Do not:

• talk politics or bring up other “hot topics.” Often, the urge is to help family members understand your position or understand why their position is irrational and wrong. Too often, this ends with slamming doors and someone crying in the car.

• be sarcastic, critical, or give subtle jabs. These can cause emotions to escalate quickly, and feelings can get hurt.

• try to fix each other’s problems over one meal. Also, do not discuss the problems of other family/department members who are not there. The Thanksgiving meal is not the time to suggest someone get out of a relationship, sell a house, be a better parent, or start exercising.

 take things personally. Some family members are pricklier than others, but you can choose not to get defensive. If someone does start fishing for a reaction, do not take the bait.


• take charge of seating. Set the table for success by separating conflicting personalities. Set the conspirators near you so you can put out fires and guide the conversation.

• ask others about their lives. Do not talk about yourself extensively.

• give kids responsibilities, but then turn them loose. Kids simply are not going to enjoy being trapped at a table for long periods of time. They often get restless and whiny. It is OK if they run off after trying most of the foods. Do not turn it into a battle. Have something for them to do after the meal.

• remind yourself why you are doing this. You love your family (hopefully), and people are more important than problems.