Let's Talk Turkey: Preventing Thanksgiving FiresThanksgiving is just about here, and then the holidays keep rolling along until the New Year. That means a lot of company and a lot of meals. Around the holidays, hospitals tend to see more burn injuries, and most of these are cooking-related.

Emergency rooms see everything from minor burns to catastrophic injuries from house fires, starting around Thanksgiving and going straight through the winter months after Christmas.

Why is Thanksgiving so dangerous?

As you might expect, many burn injuries (and house fires) come from the popularity of turkey deep fryers. FEMA actually reports that Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. Some of their tips on keeping your fryer from starting a fire—or injuring yourself or a guest—include:

  • Use your fryer only outdoors and away from any buildings or walls.
  • Keep a “safe zone” (about three feet) around the fryer where children and pets are not allowed.
  • Thaw your turkey thoroughly; any frozen parts of the turkey will cause hot oil to splatter.
  • Do not put too much oil in the fryer or you will risk it overflowing.
  • Ensure your oil stays at the correct temperature; otherwise it can overheat and catch fire.
  • Remember the handles of a turkey fryer get very hot. Do not touch them with bare hands.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and never leave your fryer unattended.

Turkey fryers are not the only danger lurking around your Thanksgiving dinner. Other culprits include cooking turkeys in disposable aluminum pans. These pans tend to bend or collapse as they are removed from the oven, splashing hot grease and liquid on the body. Spending your Thanksgiving in the ER with a burn injury is no way to enjoy a holiday.

Other accidents happen because people leave the stovetop unattended, and children pull hot pots or pans down. Homeowners should never leave the house while a turkey is in the oven, and smoke alarms should be in working order. Always ensure matches or candle lighters are out of reach of the little ones. And, do not wear clothes with loose sleeves close to an open flame.

What to do if you suffer a burn

If you, a family member, or guest suffer a burn injury, take these steps:

  • Run the affected area under room temperature or cold water.
  • Do not use ice; it can cause tissue damage.
  • After about 10 minutes, apply a light coating of first aid cream or petroleum jelly and a bandage.
  • If the burn is larger than your hand, on your face or eye, there is loss of sensation, or is blistering, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Keep the burn clean and dry. If it shows any sign of infection or if you are in extreme pain, seek medical attention.

The holidays should be a time of celebration. If you or a loved one are hurt, the Chicago injury attorneys at Gainsberg Law, P.C. are here for you. For help with your case, please call us at 312-600-9585 or complete our contact form.