The holidays are an exciting time. Kids are off school, families are gathering for fun holiday festivities, the snow is falling, and everyone is feeling the magic of the holiday spirit. It’s easy to get caught up in the wonder and merriment of the season and forget that bad things can happen even during the most wonderful time of the year.
Whether you are hosting a company potluck or your employees are hosting parties in their own homes, the holidays make the kitchen one of the busiest rooms in the house. As your employees are spending extra time preparing cookies, holiday feasts, and potluck dishes, they may encounter common kitchen disasters. Knowing what to do and how to react in an emergency can save your life and the lives of others around you. In this series, we will give you information and tips on how to prevent or react to several potentially dangerous scenarios this holiday season.
What to Do If…
You’re Experiencing a Kitchen Disaster
Preparing large holiday meals and baking holiday desserts can be a lot of fun. But, it can also be dangerous. Cuts and burns are some of the most common injuries seen in emergency rooms this time of year. Even experienced chefs have days where they are caught off guard by the added noises and distractions the holidays can bring. You might be familiar with cooking for yourself and your family, but under the stress of a large family gathering, accidents can happen. Here’s what to do if you are preparing a holiday gathering in your household:
Wear comfortable, but proper fitting clothes that will stay clear of hot oven burners.
Loose fitting clothing can easily catch fire and cause bodily injuries. If your clothes do catch fire, remember to: STOP. DROP. ROLL. Keep rolling until the flames have been put out. Seek medical attention for severe burns.
Handle knives and other kitchen tools with caution.
Never leave children unsupervised with sharp objects and always store potentially dangerous kitchen equipment out of reach of little hands. If you or someone else gets cut, immediately move away from food and food preparation surfaces. Discard any foods that may have been contaminated. Gently clean the cut with soap and water. Apply pressure to the cut to stop the bleeding. If the cut is severe, it may require stitches. If the cut can be treated at home, apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Consider wearing disposable kitchen gloves over the wound in order to finish preparing the meal.
Handle hot dishes with care.
Use heat resistant gloves to move pans and dishes off the stove or out of the oven. Always keep hot pans and dishes out of reach of children and caution others in the kitchen that you are moving a hot item or walking past them with something fresh out of the oven. You can treat first degree burns at home by removing clothing and jewelry away from the burned skin. Run under cool water for 3 to 5 minutes. NEVER USE ICE OR BUTTER ON A BURN! Apply an antibiotic ointment and a clean bandage. For burns that blister or cause swelling, seek medical attention.
Cook according to instructions.
Avoid holiday food illness by following package instructions with preparing foods. Cook raw meats thoroughly before serving. Wipe kitchen surfaces with cleaners meant to kill salmonella and other germs that cause food-borne illness. Always wash your hands before preparing meals and as often as necessary to prevent cross contamination. If you notice symptoms of food poisoning, lay down and rest. Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. Use over-the-counter relief aids or seek medical attention if symptoms do not subside.
Spending time in the kitchen during the holidays can be fun and festive. Preparing meals with family and friends, or cooking up something good to share at a company potluck brings joy to everyone. But, if we’re not careful, disaster can strike. Being prepared is the first defense against spending the holiday season in the Emergency Room.
Follow our blog for updates! For more tips on surviving the holidays, follow our What to Do If series. We have safety tips and information on what to do if you are experiencing: