Enjoy your Thanksgiving . . . safely

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Demetrius "GQ" Walters
  • 341st Missile Wing Chief of Safety
Wow. Is it that time of year already? Thanksgiving is a time for us to reflect on the past year and enjoy good food and festivities with our friends and family. President Lincoln understood the necessity for this celebration when he proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. As you enjoy your feast, camaraderie and watching the Dallas Cowboys lose, please remain mindful of your safety responsibilities.

According to the United States Fire Administration, each year on Thanksgiving Day there are more than 4,000 fires in homes across the country. The number of cooking fires that occur on Thanksgiving is more than double the number of fires that occurs on an average day. To avoid being one of these statistics, never leave the stove unattended while you are cooking. If you must leave the room have someone watch the stove or turn off the burners. Remember, a pan of cooking oil can ignite in just a few seconds. Keep pot handles turned inward when they are on the stove to avoid the possibility of spills causing flash fires or burns.

Fire is not the only hazard to be conscious of as we should follow safe food handling and cooking practices. While you are preparing your Thanksgiving dinner, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling any raw poultry or meat and before eating. You can also find out more at http://safety.lovetoknow.com/Salmonella_Poisoning_Symptoms.

Now, I have been guilty of giving a pet a scrap or two from my plate. But if you are not careful, you could find yourself in a situation where you could put your pet at risk at a time where it would be challenging to get veterinarian assistance. To avoid this, never give your dog or cat raw or undercooked turkey as they, like people, are susceptible to salmonella bacteria. Do not give your pets stuffing since herbs, such as sage, even in small amounts can cause an upset stomach and gastrointestinal problems. Never give your pet raw bread dough. The dough expands once it is eaten, causing vomiting, pain and bloating. Surgery may be required to correct the condition. Finally, don't give your pets turkey bones as, just like chicken bones, turkey bones splinter and can cause blockage or perforation of the intestine.

More information can be found at http://dogs.thefuntimesguide.com/2006/05/dog_ate_chicken_bones.php, and http://adam.about.com/encyclopedia/infectiousdiseases/Gastrointestinal-perforation.htm .

Bottom-line, we all look forward to spending Thanksgiving with our families and friends. Enjoy your holiday, your dinner and watching all of that football, and remain aware of these responsibilities.

Happy Thanksgiving!!