How to keep hidden hazards from impacting your Turkey Day feast

Experts in fire safety and poison control weigh in on how to steer clear of emergencies

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —With Turkey Day just around the corner, there are some health and home hazards that could fill your plate with issues if not handled correctly.

Experts with the Palmetto Poison Center say what separates an issue-free Thanksgiving from a feast that could lead you to the hospital is how you prepare your turkey.

“We want to make sure they do it in their refrigerators several days prior to Thanksgiving depending on how big the turkey is. If you don’t have that amount of time, you could certainly put it in cold water, but you want to change the cold water every thirty minutes,” said Jill Michels, the Managing Director of the Palmetto Poison Center.

Michels says making sure you don’t leave your turkey on the counter is one way to avoid contracting foodborne illnesses like salmonella. She also says once you thaw out the turkey completely, you should make sure the oven is set now lower than 325 degrees and cook the bird for at least two hours.

“It couldn’t go to the temperature it needs to kill the bacteria you could eat that bacteria and get sick that way. The turkeys have that little red button that pops up when it’s done. Don’t rely on that, make sure you use a meat thermometer to check that the turkey’s at the correct temperature,” Michels said.

For those who like to put their turkey in a deep fryer, Assistant Chief George Adams of the Columbia Fire Department says the best tool you can use to keep your home safe is common sense.

“When you’re preparing a turkey and frying turkeys, you should never cook a turkey inside if you’re going to deep fry it using propane, you never want to have propane inside the house. You want to make sure you’re the appropriate distance from the house when you’re deep frying a turkey, and that’s ten feet,” Adams said.

If people come across an issue involving health or food poisoning on Thanksgiving, the Palmetto Poison Center is staffed with nurses and pharmacists 24/7, even during the holiday.

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