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Safety tips for the holiday season

Staff reports • Nov 21, 2018 at 12:00 AM

With Thanksgiving being the start of the holidays, fire and police officials want to remind residents to be careful while cooking, shopping and traveling during this festive season.

The long Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, which is why the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be on the lookout for drivers who are not wearing their seat belts, speeding or driving while impaired.

AAA estimates 54.3 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles away from home this Thanksgiving. That prediction is a 4.8 percent increase over last year.

Leaving Home

The Johnson City Fire Department offers the following advice if you are away from home during the holidays:

• Do not post your travel plans on social media, which might alert would-be burglars of your absence.

• Familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers when you arrive to your destination.

• When leaving home for extended periods during the holidays be sure to turn off water to minimize the potential for water line leaks or water line bursts.

Cooking Safely

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. That’s why the JCFD also offers the following tips for staying safe in the kitchen during this holiday season:

• Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.

• Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.

• Keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove, and make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee can cause serious burns.

• Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors, and at a safe distance from buildings and combustible materials.

• Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks, carports, or in garages.

• Make sure the fryers are positioned on a flat surface to prevent accidental tipping.

• Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don’t watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.

• Make sure the turkey is completely thawed, and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix, and water can cause the oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.

Black Friday

The day after Christmas is one of the most hectic shopping days of the year. If you are one of the many Americans who will be looking for a bargain on Black Friday, the Johnson City Police Department offers the following advice:

• Always lock your car doors and never leave packages visible through car windows. Your best bet is to lock all packages in the trunk.

• Holiday shoppers should avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

• Do not leave purses unattended in shopping carts.

• Be aware of what and who is around you, and park in well-lit spaces.

“Being the victim of a crime can certainly dampen the holiday spirit,” Johnson City Police Chief Karl Turner said. “These common sense measures can help everyone stay safe and enjoy the season.”