The kitchen is the heart of the home and this is especially true during the holiday season. If you're hosting a holiday meal, then your house will be especially busy with family, friends and lots of food. Use these tips to make sure your home and family stay safe, no matter how much commotion there is.

  1. Invest in a food thermometer. You want to make sure food is cooked to the point of being safe for consumption, but not overcooked so it loses flavor. Research ahead of time the temperature your ham, turkey and stuffing (if you put it in the bird) needs to be to assure no one feels ill the next day.

  2. Use your kitchen timer. There's so much going on during a holiday with people coming and going. Even if you think you can remember to take the rolls out in 10 minutes, something might happen to distract you. At the very least, you end up with burnt rolls and possibly a kitchen fire. But the simple act of setting a timer can prevent disaster.

  3. Keep an eye on young children. Whether the youngsters are visitors or your own children, it can be hard to keep an eye on them with so much going on. Knives or hot pots are in use and too accessible. It may be better to keep the kids out of the kitchen during this time.

  4. Clear everything away from the stove. Yes, your counter is getting cluttered with preparation supplies and family members might start setting down contributions to add to the clutter, but a towel, pot holder or packaging set too close to the stove could end up in flames.

  5. Know what to do in case of a fire. If it's a grease fire, smother it rather than attempting to extinguish it with water. It's probably best to invest in a multi-purpose (A-B-C) fire extinguisher and keep it handy in the kitchen at all times.

  6. Avoid contaminating food. Microwave sponges for two minutes after cleaning counters to kill lingering bacteria and don't use utensils for more than one purpose.

  7. Even though you're stuffed and don't feel like it, make sure food is put away right after dinner. Bacteria grows at an exponential rate after two hours of food sitting out.

During the holidays, the kitchen is the most popular and also the most dangerous room in the house. Use these tips to keep everyone safe, and have a happy holiday!

Keep your family safe from fire risks. Call Pickard Insurance Agency at (817) 460-0333 for more information on Arlington home insurance.

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