Staying safe over the Thanksgiving holiday

Thanksgiving Day is the peak day for home cooking fires. Christmas Day is No. 2, and the day before Thanksgiving comes in at No. 3.

• In 2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,630 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving.

• Unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.

• Cooking caused almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries and was the second leading cause of home fire deaths from 2014-2018.

Most DoN “cooking-related” burn or fire mishaps were caused by overheating oil and spilling or splashing boiling oil. Injuries often included second- and third-degree burns requiring medical care. Some required surgeries and skin grafts. Complacency, inattention and lack of appropriate firefighting response caused or worsened outcomes in most cases.

Follow these tips to avoid cooking fires and these types of burn injuries:

• Stand by your pot or pan. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the burner.

• Watch what you are cooking. If oil or grease starts to boil, turn off the burner immediately. Overheated oil or grease leads to fires.

• Turn pot and pan handles toward the back of the stove so they can’t be bumped or pulled over.

• Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby to cover the pan if it catches fire.

• Keep dish towels, rags and other materials, such as loose sleeves, away from burners.

Most cooking fires can be extinguished quickly if you follow basic fire control principles: Remove oxygen by covering the pot or pan; Remove the heat source by turning off the power or flame.

Holiday Travel

As one of the peak traveling times of the year, staying safe on the road is paramount, regardless of where you live and where you’re going. For some, Thanksgiving travel involves driving to and from mild climates where inclement weather is not an issue. For others, visits to spend time with friends and family may involve driving through snow, sleet or ice.

Traveling by car during the holidays has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. From 2018 to 2021, 55 Sailors and Marines lost their lives in private motor vehicle crashes between Oct. 1 and March 30.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2020, about 163 people died on New Year ‘ s Day, 485 on Thanksgiving Day and on Christmas Day 2019, an estimated 115 lost their lives. Impairment is involved in about a third of the fatalities.

Familiarizing yourself with the Navy ‘ s Traffic Safety Program, can help you stay safe and arrive alive. Navy policies and requirements for both on and off-duty driving for Navy military members and civilians can be found in the Traffic Safety Program, CH. 36 in OPNAVINST 5100.23. The program covers policies such as maximum daily driving times, mandatory safety belt use and trip risk management assessments.