’Tis the season for possible misfortune

A gauge monitors the temperature of a deep frying turkey in preparation for a Thanksgiving meal at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Always remember to be aware of any safety hazards when preparing food this holiday season to avoid serious injuries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaleb Snay)

A gauge monitors the temperature of a deep frying turkey in preparation for a Thanksgiving meal at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Always remember to be aware of any safety hazards when preparing food this holiday season to avoid serious injuries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaleb Snay)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

The holiday season provides opportunities for family reunions, Thanksgiving feasts, and possible mayhem.

Travelers pile into their vehicles and take off on road trips to visit friends and family. Families gather around the table for holiday food and drinks, but these common holiday traditions present added risk during the season an aware airman can easily mitigate.

Whether a road trip is down the block, across town, or across the continent, driving presents added risk during the holiday season for several reasons. The winter months present colder temperatures and worsening weather that creates poor driving conditions. Stopping distances increase, visibility decreases, and the conditions are generally more strenuous on vehicles. These conditions are coupled with the fact many more vehicles are on the roads and many people are not solely focused on the road. Distracted driving, whether cell phone use or eating, poses the top threat to drivers. 

Getting to your destination safely is paramount to saving time. This holiday season, protect the people you love and those around you. Stay off your cell phone and keep your eyes on the road. Replace your windshield wipers, ensure your vehicle fluids are topped off, and check to make sure your battery charges properly. Consider keeping emergency supplies in your vehicle such as blankets, water, food and shovels. Wear your seat belt and increase following distance. Most importantly, plan your route and allow extra time to get to your destination.

Even a feast presents risk. Grease fires are the leading cause of home fires, commonly caused by deep frying a turkey. Although it may be a delicious way to cook a turkey, extreme care must be taken when using this technique. When grease is heated past its boiling point temperature it may spontaneously burst into flame, igniting nearby flammables. The best practice is to closely monitor your cooking and ensure you know the appropriate temperatures at which your specific grease will boil.

However, in case you do encounter a combustible turkey this holiday season the first priority should always be to keep yourself and others out of harm’s way. Some positive solutions include turning off the heat source below the fire, placing a metal lid over the fire to suffocate the flames, pouring baking soda on the flames, and using a dry chemical that is not water based such as a Class B fire extinguisher. Do not, under any circumstance, throw water on a grease fire or attempt to move the pan. This will only aggravate the situation and spread the flame and cause serious injury.

The holiday season is a time of joy when we minimize the risks we can control. Recognize the particular heightened risks of traveling and celebrating this season and take appropriate action. Remember the advice and hazards listed above and review the provided helpful resources listed below to help guide you to a safe and memorable holiday season.

Resources:

cbsnews.com/news/grease-fires-dangerous-fast-spreaders/

exchange.aaa.com/safety/roadway-safety/winter-driving-tips/#.WCt2Peq7pE8