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Archive for Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Keep safety tips in mind to avoid Thanksgiving regrets

November 25, 2009

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Don’t let a clog ruin your holiday

Improper disposal of the waste from your Thanksgiving meal can cause problems. The Lawrence Department of Utilities often responds to sanitary sewage blockages during the holiday season. Follow these tips to prevent household plumbing problems:

• Do not put fats, oil, grease or greasy food down a garbage disposal or drain.

• Place small amounts of fats, oil and grease in a container with a tight-sealing lid and place in a trash bag, tie shut and dispose of it in a trash receptacle.

• If you have a greasy pan to soak, first pour off grease into a container. After soaking, place paper towels over the drain basket to catch grease and food as you pour the soaking water down the drain.

• Turkey deep fat fryers use a large amount of oil. Solidify it for trash pickup by mixing with an absorbent material such as cat litter or a floor dry product. Or sop up excess oil with newspaper and then place it in the trash.

• Larger amounts of waste cooking oil may be collected by the Household Hazardous Waste program. Call the Waste Reduction & Recycling Division at 832-3030 to schedule a drop-off appointment for the oil. There’s no fee to Douglas County households.

As your Thanksgiving menu gets finalized, don’t forget to add safety to your holiday to-do list.

Chief Mark Bradford of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical said area residents can take some “common sense approaches” to fireproofing Turkey Day plans.

Bradford suggests these cooking and housekeeping safety tips:

• Limit the number of people in and around the cooking.

• Use the back burners on the stove and leave the front area unheated and free to prevent spilling.

• Don’t wear baggy clothes or dangling jewelry while cooking because either can latch onto something and cause an accident.

• Be sure to clean your oven to prevent oven fires.

• Have a fire extinguisher no farther than 10 feet from the cooking area in case of a fire.

• Refresh the batteries of your home’s smoke detectors.

• Write out your home’s address and place it next to the phone. Because guests are often at your home during these times, “very few people remember the exact house address,” Bradford added. If they need to dial 911 for a fire or medical emergency, that address will be necessary information for them to access.

If you are going to deep fry a turkey:

• Be extra careful with turkey fryers. The hot oil used in them can cause severe burns.

• Thaw your turkey at least 24 hours before you place it in the fryer. If it’s not completely thawed, the water inside the turkey and the oil could mix and cause an explosion.

Most of these suggestions are common sense, Bradford said, but a timely reminder can help prevent accidents.

“The men and women of the Fire Medical department are obviously working and will be in their stations — ready to go during the Thanksgiving holiday,” Bradford said. “We hope that everyone has a great holiday season and that we don’t have to visit them.”

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