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Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Woman preparing for Christmas dinnerCooking a big meal for the holidays is a joyous event, as you can pour your love and expertise into every bite. But to keep loved ones safe, make sure you are careful in the kitchen. Our first tip? Slow down. Despite the frenetic pace modeled on cooking competition shows, it’s always best to pace yourself while cooking. Professional chefs work quickly, but they also watch out for one another and take steps to follow basic safety protocols.

Avoid Food-Borne Illnesses

As disheartening as it is, in terms of bacteria, home kitchens are typically more bacteria-ridden than public restrooms.  But the good news is that if steps are taken to follow sanitary practices, you can guard against hosting a house full of sick holiday guests.Dirty utensil on the kitchen

  • Wash utensils thoroughly. The dishwasher is the best method for washing, as it utilizes too-hot-to-handle water and vigorous rinsing. If you must hand wash items that have come into contact with raw meat or eggs, use gloves, so you can handle hot water without burning yourself. Apply lots of soap and thoroughly wash everything to dispense with soap residue.
  • Prevent cross contamination by using separate cutting boards for meat, veggies and fruit. Several manufacturers offer color-coded cutting boards for just this reason.
  • User paper towels to remove juice from meat and raw eggs. Avoid using cloth towels, which can harbor bacteria.
  • Defrost and marinate foods in the refrigerator instead of on top of the kitchen counter or in the sink.

messyPrevent Kitchen Fires

  • Focus on the task at hand. Do not leave items on the stove and then leave to fold laundry or watch TV. Instead, remain in the kitchen so you can quickly control any flare-ups.
  • Remove clutter. If you are cooking an elaborate meal, clean up as you go to keep your workspace clutter free. Towels or wooden utensils are highly flammable, so keep a “clear zone” around the range top and oven.
  • Thoroughly clean cooking surfaces to prevent high-fat food residue buildup, which can be flammable.
  • Be careful if you are frying foods. Remember that water and hot oil are incompatible. So don’t put frozen foods into hot oil.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen to put out fires before they get out of control. Make sure you are using the right type of extinguisher for the fire you are battling. If you need to use it, remember the acronym PASS – pull, aim, squeeze and sweep.

Additional tips for holiday kitchen safety:

  • Monitor the kids. Keep children out of the kitchen during meal preparation. While you might be able to supervise kids in less hectic times, crowded kitchens and lots of activity can lead to accidents. So save culinary lessons for after the holidays. Also, keeping children away from meal preparation will prevent curious little hands from pulling on pot handles.Overwhelmed and frustrated Mom in the kitchen
  • Clean up spills. A slippery floor is a major hazard in the kitchen, since people often carry sharp knives and boiling water. So immediately wipe spills until surfaces are completely dry.
  • Use knives properly. There is a proper way to chop different types of foods, which can prevent the loss of a fingertip and a trip to the emergency room on Christmas Day. In addition, remember that, as counter intuitive as it sounds, it is safer to use a razor sharp knife than a dull blade.
  • Steam burns. Some foods, such as instant rice and veggies, now come in convenient plastic microwaveable packets. If you decide to use these, make sure to open away from your face.

The holidays are a busy time. Adding several relatives and planning big elaborate meals challenge even the most organized host. So follow these kitchen safety practices to ensure everyone has a happy and safe holiday season.

Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to think safety all of the time. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

Holiday Safety Tips from A-Z

Monday, November 22nd, 2010
A tangle of green and blue Christmas lights

Make sure your family, friends and staff remain safe during the holidays.

‘Tis the Season – For Safety

You know the story. Every year, beginning in mid-November, the local news starts discussing the dangers posed by Christmas trees and other holiday hazards. Let us take the opportunity to go beyond their typical tip of the day to give you an A to Z guide in order to ensure you and your family, friends and business associates are safe during the holidays.

Always remember to turn off the Christmas tree lights!

Be careful when walking to your car…especially if you are carrying holiday gifts.

Call ahead to find out how crowded streets near shopping centers are, to avoid encountering crazy drivers in holiday traffic

Drag your tree to the curb, or, better yet…check into tree recycling programs so you won’t create a dried-out fire hazard.

Extinguishers are vital to deal with fires! Make sure yours aren’t past their prime and that you are properly trained to use one.

Fire and emergency exit codes are important considerations when you host parties. So don’t invite 70 people to your studio apartment.

Get involved with Fire Prevention Week every year.

Happy Holidays from Allied Universal!

Immune Systems are taxed by too many activities. Get some rest so you will stay healthy.

Juices from uncooked foods can be contaminated. Keep a clean kitchen for happy and healthy guests.

Kitchen fires are prevalent during the holidays… the source of 40% of all house fires.

Lights on the tree should be checked for cracked wires. Also, connect no more than three strands together.

Manage holiday stress to stay healthy.

New toys should be carefully checked for safety and age-appropriateness.

Overloading electrical circuits can spark fires. Do your Christmas lights have to be visible from space?

Power lines should be avoided when hanging outdoor lights. Also, for outdoor light safety, use a fiberglass or wooded ladder.

Quit smoking for your own health and to reduce the risk of fire.

Remove lights or electrical decorations when they flicker or show other signs of wear.

Smokers should stay outside in designated areas. (See Q for another smoking-safety tip.)

Test smoke alarms.

Unplug Christmas lights when you are changing broken bulbs.

Viruses like the common cold love holiday’s parties! Consider distributing hand sanitizer as a party favor.

Windows are not the place to hang holiday decorations. Drapes and lit candles or hot light bulbs don’t mix.

Xeriscaping your yard this winter can help lower your risk for fire next summer.

Your business needs an evacuation plan, especially if you will be hosting a massive holiday party.

Zero water means a dry tree. Don’t be stingy with the H2O.

Remember, you can have fun and be safe at the same time! Follow holidays safety tips to ensure your family and coworkers have a fun and safe holiday’s season!

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.