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By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

November 13, 2022 (San Diego) -- Please Pass the Safety! And can you add some manners, too?

Thanksgiving signifies the beginning of the Holiday Season. Many of you are starting your Thanksgiving plans. Most will be spending more time in the kitchen preparing for the holidays.

It’s time to serve up these cooking safety tips. After all - Thanksgiving is the single worst day for residential fires!

Let’s share some facts about cooking safety:

  • Be careful wearing loose clothing around open flames on the stove
  • Use a timer and use “post it’s” to remind yourself of cooking times in the oven
  • Be careful using candles at the dinner table (especially if toddlers are present)
  • Use oven and mitts when handling hot pots and pans
  • Do not cool hot pans with water if grease is in them
  • Have a fire extinguisher near-by and know how to use it.
  • Stay alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not use the stove or stove top.
  • Is that smoke detector properly working?

If you have a cooking fire

Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire -- and call 911.  

Never pour water on a grease fire, which will make it flare up worse. 

Nothings goes better with turkey than manners!

Bad manners can make a delicious meal bad. Here are some things to help maintain civility:


  • Do not talk politics or bring up other “hot topics.” Often the urge is to help family members “understand” your position or understand why their position is irrational and wrong. Too often, this ends with slamming doors and someone crying in the car.
  • Do not be sarcastic, critical or give subtle jabs. These can cause emotions to escalate quickly, and feelings can get hurt.
  • Do not try to fix each other’s problems over one meal. Also, do not discuss the problems of other family members who are not there. The Thanksgiving meal is not the time to suggest someone get out of a relationship, sell a house, be a better parent, or start exercising.
  • Do not take things personally. Some family members are “pricklier” than others but choose not to get defensive. If someone does start fishing for a reaction, don’t take a bite.


  • Take charge of seating. Set the table for success by separating conflicting personalities. Set the conspirators near you so you can put out fires and guide the conversation.
  • Ask others about their lives. Do not talk about yourself extensively.
  • Give kids responsibilities, but then turn them loose. Kids simply are not going to enjoy being trapped at a table for long periods of time. They often get restless and whiny. It is OK if they run off after trying most of the foods. Do not turn it into a battle. Have something for them to do after the meal.

Most importantly, remind yourself why you are doing this. You love your family and friends. Be thankful and give thanks to everything you have. Especially family and friends.

Remember with manners; “people are more important than problems!”

*Note: The information in this article was compiled from various sources. These suggestions are not a complete list of every preventative or loss control measure. This information is not intended to replace additional safety manuals or the advice of another qualified professional(s). We make no guarantee of results from the use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.


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