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SALT LAKE CITY -- Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate, but it's also a busy time for emergency crews and police who every year are called to fires, break-ins, and other emergencies. So, with all of the Thanksgiving chaos Thursday, here are some safety tips you should remember.
Cooking the holiday feast
It's easy to get distracted when you're gearing up for a holiday, right? You forget about something in the oven, you put too much down the disposal, and suddenly you're dealing with a clogged drain or even a fire.
Before you take the first bite of your big Thanksgiving feast, there are some things you should keep in mind; beginning with cooking that turkey.
Red Cross volunteer Stan Rosenzweig said, "Most people, if they would stay in the kitchen and not go scurrying all over the house to multitask, but keep someone in the kitchen to keep an eye on the stove, that will go a long way to prevent fires."
Every year, the Red Cross says they get called out to house fires started by turkeys.
Precautions when serving food
When setting your table, you might want to opt for individual portions, rather than setting up buffet style.
Bryce Larsen, Food Protection Manager for the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, says, "When that food's left out for a free-for-all, it's not good if everybody's picking at it, because if uncle Joe hasn't washed his hands after using the restroom, he can contaminate that food. The bacteria could then grow, and then people could ingest it."
The U.S. sees over 400,000 cases of food poisoning caused by improper cooling and storing of fully-cooked turkey each year --Salt Lake Valley Health Department
And speaking of leaving food out, make sure to follow a simple rule when it comes to temperature control, so the food doesn't spoil. "If you're going to be leaving the food out, don't leave it out on the counter or the table out of temperature," says Larsen. " We have a rule in food safety: keep hot foods hot, keep cold foods cold."
Hot foods need to be kept at 140 degrees or hotter, cold food should be at 40 degrees or colder, and don't leave anything out for more than two hours.
And forget about eating turkey leftovers until the New Year -- that could also make you sick. Larsen says, "Do not use them after four days of refrigeration after the dinner."
Other things to keep in mind
When dinner is over, and you're throwing things away, don't toss it all down your disposal. Tom Ward, deputy director of Public Utilities for Salt Lake City, said, "The arteries that we call the sewer pipes that drain that away from the city are just as important. And so, out of mind, out of sight, doesn't mean it doesn't clog up the sewer pipes below them."
And if you're celebrating the holiday away from your home, be sure to lock up and keep gifts away from windows to help prevent a break-in.
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