Holiday Tip of the Day: Cooking Safety

By: Rick Pietzak

The holiday season is a time of decorating homes and planning parties. Unfortunately, it’s also a season that can bring accidents and injuries. Federal officials estimate there are 128,700 fires in in the U.S. each December, which result in 415 deaths and 1,650 injuries.
“Cooking those holiday meals and decorating the house can be overwhelming. Basic safety precautions can be overlooked; something as innocent as a potholder placed too close to the stovetop can result in a fire,” said Jenny Ziembicki, M.D., medical director, UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Center.

More than half of holiday season fires stem from cooking accidents. Here’s how you can stay safe in the kitchen:

  • Keep a three-foot zone around your stove and oven.
  • Keep towels, wooden utensils and potholders away from the stovetop.
  • When serving meals, be especially careful with tablecloths; kids and pets can pull on the cloth, bringing down hot food like gravy or soup and causing a splash burn.
  • Deep-fried turkey may be popular and tasty, but preparation is extremely dangerous. Consider treating yourself to this dish at a favorite restaurant instead. If you must deep-fry a turkey, the fryer should be outdoors and at a safe distance from buildings. Never leave the fryer unattended.