The 4 Biggest Hazards of Thanksgiving Day (and Their Unexpected Biohazards)
Thanksgiving Day — a time of stuffed turkeys, warm apple cider, family togetherness and grandma’s dressing. It should also be a day to give thanks for what you have, those you love and what is to come. What could go wrong on such a delightful occasion?
The answer is a lot, actually. A lot could go wrong on Thanksgiving Day, and some of it involves the potential development of a few biohazards in your home.
Each year on Thanksgiving Day, celebrants are injured by a handful of all-too-common dangers related to the holiday. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the holidays aren’t just busy for shopping malls and local grocery stores; they’re also one of the busiest days in a hospital’s E.R. — and it’s not just experimental turkey frying that lands people there.
From fractured shoulders and over-indulgence to grease burns and carving accidents, the Thanksgiving holiday is responsible for a fair share of the usual and not-so-usual trips to the E.R.
At Alabama Bio-Clean, Inc., we’ve seen it all, and holiday catastrophes are no more unusual to us than Aunt Kristy sending Uncle Bob to the E.R. with a plastic fork in his arm (okay, maybe that one is unusual). But what we discover is that, inside their own homes, families often don’t realize the potential biohazards of which they and their holiday guests could be exposed.
4 Potential Hazards of Thanksgiving (and the Biohazards They Leave)
Here are just a few hazards of Thanksgiving and the unexpected biohazards you might find yourself encountering, both in and outside of your home.
- Cooking Fires
- Blood exposure
- Food poisoning
- Vehicle accidents
1. Cooking Fires (and the odors that accompany them)
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than three times as many cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day than on a typical day of the year. “Unattended cooking” was the leading cause of these fires. Home cooking fires also spike on other major U.S. holidays, including Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and Memorial Day Weekend. Though cooking fires spike on holidays, it is also one of the leading causes of home fire year-round, with U.S. fire departments responding to more than 160,000 home cooking fires per year that result in an average of more than 400 civilian fire deaths, 5,400 injuries and $1.1 billion in property damage.
And one of the top things the NFPA discourages you from doing to limit the potential of starting a cooking fire on Thanksgiving is to not use a turkey fryer — one of the most popular cooking methods. Turkey fryers can lead to devastating burns and other injuries, but also the destruction of property due to the large amount and high temperature of oil used in the fryer. The NFPA offers a few useful Thanksgiving safety tips for cooking at home this holiday season.
If you do happen to experience the devastation of a cooking fire that gets out of control and affects other areas of your property on Thanksgiving, restoration of the area (in more ways than one) may be a necessity. Alabama Bio-Clean, Inc., offers odor removal services that may be of interest to you.
In the event of a fire in a building, odors from the fire, smoke, soot and others can linger long after the flames are extinguished. A house fire produces gases and fumes that can penetrate furniture, walls and other material, while soot can settle on everything inside a home. Not only might the lingering smell be almost unbearable, but you could unknowingly be breathing in harmful smoke particles.
Alabama Bio-Clean, Inc., has trained and licensed technicians and state-of-the-art equipment to get rid of the strongest odors – from subtle to overwhelming — and our tried-and-true professional techniques will have your property restored to, at the very least in this situation, a safe breathable environment for you and your loved ones in no time.
2. Exposure to potential bloodborne pathogens via a cut
Cuts and lacerations are two of the most common hazards of Thanksgiving. This hazard gives new meaning to the old saying “you’ve got too many cooks in the kitchen.” Turn away the well-meaning but inexperienced “kitchen helpers,” and ask the guests who’ve over-imbibed to take a much-needed seat at the table.
Large knives, rushing and distractions can all lead to cuts or lacerations, especially from carving the turkey. To avoid these types of mishaps, only allow an adult who is confident with cooking and serving utensils to carve the turkey. You can also purchase knife-resistant gloves at a reasonable cost.
Typically, for most people, the last thing they have on their minds when helping an individual who has a cut that deserves a trip to the E.R. is the exposure dangers from blood. But, even on a normal day, one of the most common biohazards in homes that occupants fail to recognize as a risk to themselves is liquid waste, or rather, any bodily fluids from a human or animal.
All bodily fluids, including blood, pose the risk of being contaminated with viruses, bacteria and other toxins that can make you ill. The removal of liquid waste biohazards should only be handled by a trusted biohazard cleanup and remediation company, such as Alabama Bio-Clean, Inc.
3. Food Poisoning from undercooked or incorrectly stored foods
Salmonella is an icky bacteria that can be found in turkeys. Though turkey is delicious, if you don’t ensure it is cooked properly, you could find yourself (and the whole family) with food poisoning.
When dealing with frozen turkey, always thaw the bird in the refrigerator or use the cold-water bath method. This one seems like it should go without saying, but make sure your turkey is COMPLETELY cooked before carving it up — that means it must have an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees, measured in three places: the thickest part of the breast, the inner thigh and the wing.
The potential for food poisoning can continue beyond Thanksgiving Day obviously; when leftovers come into play, make sure you do not store cooked turkey in the refrigerator for any longer than four days. But be mindful not to pack your refrigerator or freezer too full. Having too much food stuffed inside tends to be one of the main culprits of freezer or refrigerator failure.
When unit failure does happen, you’ll need to make some decisions about the food you have stored inside to avoid a potentially biohazardous situation. For example, once the temperature in your failed appliance goes above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours, you’ll need to throw out meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, dairy products, eggs, cooked or cut produce and cooked leftovers to avoid anyone ingesting any harmful bacteria that have begun to grow.
And if you don’t do any of that and, instead, end up with a biohazardous situation, call Alabama Bio-Clean, Inc., for our failed freezer cleanup and odor removal services.
4. Vehicle accidents from intoxicated or distracted driving
Thanksgiving Day has sometimes been referred to as “Drinksgiving,” as it is known as one of the biggest drinking days of the year. A steep increase in alcohol consumption, obviously, leads to a higher likelihood of people driving under the influence.
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates 518 people may die on U.S. roads this Thanksgiving holiday period. If this estimate becomes reality, then Thanksgiving 2022 will experience the most deaths since 2007 — and that’s why vehicle accidents is one of the top hazards of Thanksgiving.
In addition, an analysis conducted using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2019 determined which states were the most dangerous for drivers over the holidays. Looking at the rate of crashes per 100,000 people, the analysis found that the states with the highest rate of car crashes were in the South, West and Midwest.
And the good ol’ state of Alabama clocked in at #6 on the list of the most dangerous states for driving during Thanksgiving! If you’re traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, be vigilant of other drivers around you, appoint a designated driver if you must or (our personal favorite), plan to stay the night with family or friends instead of hitting the road after the big meal.
Alabama Bio-Clean, Inc., technicians have been helping local entities clear roadways of all biohazardous material resulting from vehicular accidents for many years. Biohazards from vehicle accidents could include bone fragments, blood and/or human waste that has the potential to seep into groundwater near the scene if not properly cleaned.
Though vehicle accidents are always unfortunate, they are doubly more so on a holiday. Our goal with our vehicle accident cleanup is to be of maximum service to the communities we assist and to make a difference in the lives of our clients, but we always pray we won’t have to.
This Thanksgiving, We’re Giving Our ‘Thanks’ to You!
Wherever your holiday travels or adventures take you this Thanksgiving, we hope that you will stay vigilant, stay wise, stay safe and, in the end, stay free of all the potential hazards of Thanksgiving.
This Thanksgiving, we’re sending out a special ‘thanks’ to you — our clients and those whom we work closely with day in and day out! Though the situations and scenes may be grim, we do the job that we do for and because of you, and for the safety and well-being of all.
If your holiday does take a turn for the worst, however, rest assured that Alabama Bio-Clean, Inc., will be there to help you through it. Our operating hours are the same on holidays as they are at any other time of the year — our operators are available to take your call and our technicians stand ready to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at 1-866-513-0450. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!