A Comprehensive Thanksgiving Safety Guide

Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and, of course, pie!

There is nothing better than gathering your family around the table for a delicious meal.

As a personal injury-focused law firm, we recommend all family members pass the knives handle first!

We’re just kidding around but, in all seriousness, here are some additional tips to keep your family and home safe this Thanksgiving!



The turkey is usually the hero of the holiday, evoking silence from all as faces are stuffed because it tastes so good!

Be sure to avoid lines to the bathroom or trips to the hospital for food poisoning by following these tips:

  1. Stay away from the fresh, pre-stuffed turkeys.
  2. Store the turkey in the freezer until you’re ready to defrost it just prior to cooking.
  3. Defrost the turkey according to the recommended instructions either in the refrigerator or submerged in leak-proof packaging in cold water.
  4. If you rinse your turkey in the sink after thawing, use care to avoid splashing on nearby counter-tops and other surfaces/items. Wipe all areas down with a disinfectant afterward.
  5. Cook the turkey immediately after thawing.
  6. Cook the turkey to the minimum recommended temperature.
  7. Use a thermometer to ensure the turkey is properly cooked.
  8. Cook the stuffing separately.
  9. Keep surfaces and hands clean.
  10. Wash hands after handling raw meat.
  11. Keep raw meat away from uncooked foods.
  12. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  13. Store leftovers properly, refrigerate no more than two hours after the food is served.
  14. Eat leftovers within three days or store them in the freezer.
  15. Reheated leftovers should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.


Turkey Thanksgiving Cooking Safety

Chances are there will be some type of cooking going on at your home on or around Thanksgiving.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.”

1. Fire Extinguishers & Smoke Detectors

Be sure to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and easily at hand if you’re using a turkey fryer.

Ensure smoke detectors are properly installed throughout your home, particularly in or near the kitchen and in sleeping areas.

Also, check each smoke detector to ensure they are working and replace the batteries at least once per year.

2. Turkey Fryers

Never, EVER throw water on a grease fire.

Turkey fryers dramatically increase the risk of burns and fire hazards.

Always be sure that the oil is the correct temperature and use the fryer in a well-ventilated area away from structures (i.e. don’t use it in the garage).

3. Putting Out a Fire

If the fire is in the oven, leave the door closed, and turn it off.

If the fire occurs on the stove, shut it off, cover the fire with a lid or another pan, and be ready to use the fire extinguisher if needed.

Do not put water, salt, or flour on a fire. Call 9-1-1 and leave the home.

4. Remove Fire Hazards

We’re all tempted to leave the oven mitts next to the stove but leave one too close and it can cause a fire.

Other kitchen items that also present a danger are wooden utensils, towels, and plastic bags.

It’s best to keep them away from the stove and crockpots.


Home Security Tips While Traveling

If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, ensure your home is protected by following these tips:

  1. Don’t post on social media that you will be away.
  2. Put indoor and outdoor lights on automatic timers to turn on and off throughout the day.
  3. If you have a home phone, turn the ringer down to prevent unanswered calls from being heard.
  4. Don’t put on your voicemail or answering machine that you are out of town.
  5. Place mail and newspaper deliveries on hold.
  6. Be sure all windows and doors are locked.
  7. Don’t leave a hide-a-key outside.

VanDerGinst Law hopes these tips will help you have a very safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Special Note: COVID-19 Safety During the Holidays

Small Gatherings for Holidays to Avoid COVID

With COVID-19 cases on the rise going into the holiday season, there are many extra safety concerns that you need to keep in mind during the Thanksgiving holiday.

While your 2020 Thanksgiving may not be ideal, it’s important to stay safe this year by utilizing some of these tips:

  1. Avoid large traditional gatherings and share a nice Thanksgiving with the people you already live with.
  2. Call or video conference those you usually have a traditional Thanksgiving with in order to stay connected.
  3. Do not go to any planned gatherings if you (or someone in your household) are showing any symptoms of being sick.
  4. If you do have a gathering, make sure that you keep the gathering as small as possible to avoid increased exposure risk.
  5. Also if you have a gathering, make sure to social distance as much as possible, and make sure everyone washes their hands regularly.
  6. Make sure you have proper ventilation during gatherings such as an open window and/or fans running. This will reduce the risk of sickness spreading.
  7. Check temperatures at the door if possible, and if you host the gathering, urge others who are showing signs of sickness to stay home.
  8. Avoid going to the store for Black Friday deals to avoid the large crowds. Instead opt to shop online as many retailers are extending their deals to a longer range of time to persuade people to shop online this year.
  9. We are not doctors and cannot give you medical advice. Please refer to CDC guidelines before any gathering takes place to ensure all proper protocols are being followed.

While it is important to stay connected with family and friends, especially during the holidays, it’s more important to stay safe and utilize available technology to stay connected.

Contact VanDerGinst Law

If an accident does happen, VanDerGinst Law would be honored to help you with a personal injury claim.

The consultation is free and there is never a fee unless we win.

If you suffered an injury in Iowa or Illinois, contact VanDerGinst Law, P.C. at 800-960-8529.

The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.

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