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Practice safety during Thanksgiving holiday

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Across the nation, people are dusting off their fryers and preparing the burners for massive holiday feasts and celebrations.

From fire safety to safe driving, there are a few important safety tips to heed while observing the holiday.

Cooking incidents are a major source of death, injury and damage during the Thanksgiving holiday. Fryers, knives, candles and stovetops all present a danger, especially when one is not paying careful attention to what he or she is doing.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire Reporting System, approximately 2,000 Thanksgiving fires are reported to fire departments each year. These residential fires result in an annual average of five deaths, 25 injuries and $21 million in property damage, and 69 percent are the result of cooking mishaps.

People are encouraged to use extra caution while preparing the holiday meal, to include the following tips from the National Fire Protection Agency:
· Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop, and keep children away at least three feet from a hot stove.
· Stay in the home when cooking the turkey and check on it frequently.
· Keep the floor clear to avoid tripping.
· Keep matches, utility lighters, candles and knives out of children's reach.
· Be sure electric cords from electric knives, coffee makers, plate warmers or mixers are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child and to avoid accidentally pulling an unsafe item off the counter.
· Make sure smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

When it comes to frying a turkey, it is especially important to cook with care. Fryers can present a major fire hazard if not operated properly. With such large amounts of oil at high temperatures, the possibilities of fire, injury and death are present. It's imperative to carefully follow the directions for the fryer to avoid such casualties. Still, the NFPA "continues to believe that turkey fryers that use oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for acceptably safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer," the organization's website states.

Additionally, drinking and driving increasingly becomes an issue as the holiday season approaches and people participate in celebrations.

During the holiday season, the Colorado State patrol enforces the "Heat Is On" campaign against drunk driving. According to a Colorado Department of Transportation news release, there were 453 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol around Thanksgiving last year, as well as seven fatal crashes attributed to alcohol.

While celebrating the holidays, be sure to have a plan to get home safely, and stick to that plan. Follow these few tips for safety and take extra care to help ensure a great Thanksgiving holiday.
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