Thanksgiving is already upon us, which means we’re going to be more and more consumed with the holidays – and perhaps less with safety.

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog – and we hope you are – you already know to call South Dakota One Call before doing any sort of excavation in order to get those underground facilities marked and located before breaking ground.

So, we’ll give 811 a bit of a rest today and focus on the season at hand.

Did you know that Thanksgiving is the peak day of the year for cooking fires?  Number two and three are Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, respectively.  Use of turkey fryers, indoor cooking, decorations, and festive candles (Christmas Day is number one for fires startd by candles!) spark these blazes.

Firefighters say keep an adult in the kitchen when the stovetop is in use, and one person at home when a turkey is in the oven, checking on it frequently.

It goes without saying that kids and pets need to stay away from all cooking areas. Make sure your stove top pots and pans have the handles facing inwards, so little hands aren’t tempted to reach up and grab something.

If you get a flare-up, NEVER put water on a grease fire.  Baking soda or an approved fire extinguisher are your life savers.

Turkey fryers are their own special problem.  Don’t use one in the snow or rain.  Use it on a flat, level surface away from the house.

NEVER put a frozen turkey into a boiling turkey fryer.  Here’s a video from the Virginia Beach Fire Department done for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper on what happens when you do:

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed, oil is at correct temperature and turn off the burner.  Once the turkey is submerged, restart the burner and never leave it unattended.   Read more here:

On the food side, salmonella is not your friend.   Cook a turkey to at least 165 degrees, maybe a bit more.  Refrigerate any uneaten food within two hours.  Any refrigerated leftovers should be eaten within four days.  Freeze anything else.  Observe safe cooking rules – keep utensils, countertops, hands and prep areas cleaned between items.  Wash hands frequently.  Change hand towels in the kitchen frequently.   Read much more here:

While Rover begging is a cute sight, don’t give in.  The American Veterinary Medical Association says that eating turkey or turkey skin – sometimes even a small amount – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.  Chocolate can be harmful for pets. The artificial sweetener called xylitol – commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods – also can be deadly if consumed by dogs or cats.   And chewing on poultry bones can damage your pet’s digestive tract.  There’s more here:

All of that being said – we at South Dakota 811 wish you a happy Thanksgiving and hope your football teams win!

Until next time, safe digging!

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