HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

November Chief's Concerns

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Donna Gore, with the 169th Logistics Readiness Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for her portrait Feb. 7, 2012.
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Donna Gore, with the 169th Logistics Readiness Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for her portrait Feb. 7, 2012. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- Wow, it's hard to believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner. With the fast pace of everyday life I ask everyone to take a moment and think about the important things, family and friends. Sometimes with the inspections and the deployments, we forget the little stuff. We forget about the sacrifices that we all make, even the ones that stay on the home front during military duties. So as the holidays near, thank your family for all that they do and let them know how much they are appreciated. As the old saying goes, "War is Hell on the Home Front Too."

On another note, from now until New Year's Day, there are all sorts of things to celebrate. Unfortunately the holidays can present dangers related to food, decorations, travel, driving and alcohol. A few common-sense precautions can help keep you safe throughout the holidays.

Food Safety - You'll often hear food safety experts repeat the adage, "keep hot food hot and cold food cold." The reason for this is because bacteria thrive at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, cold foods need to be held at 40 degrees or below and hot foods need to be served immediately or held at 140 degrees or above.

Cooking Safety - According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires. Supervise cooking closely. Make sure combustibles, like potholders and rags, are kept away from cooking surfaces. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing that might catch fire easily. Instead, wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Keep pot handles turned in to avoid spills and possible scalds, and keep kids and pets away from cooking areas.

Decorations - Candles are often part of holiday decorations. Candles should never be left burning when you are away from home or after going to bed. Candles should be located where children will not be tempted to play with them and where guests will not accidentally brush against them. The candle holder should be completely noncombustible and difficult to knock over and should not have combustible decorations around it.

Travel Tips - Don't post travel plans on Facebook or Twitter and therefore letting people know that you will be out of town. Check the weather forecast for your destination before you leave to ensure that you are taking appropriate clothes. Drive defensively and stay alert. There are plenty of other folks who will be tired, stressed or otherwise distracted while at the wheel. Leave an itinerary of your trip with someone at home in case you need to be contacted. Put identifying markings on the suitcases you check through at the airlines...bold colored tape in a recognizable design. Don't put valuables in luggage you check; e.g. jewelry, cameras, watches. Remove old airline destination tags.

Driving and alcohol - If you are the host of a holiday gathering, ensure you have designated drivers available. If a designated driver is not available, make alternate plans to get home. Have plenty of hors d' oeuvres for guests, such as mini sandwiches, breaded food and cheeses, which are filling and will slow down the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Remember, friends take care of friends!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends and come back safe!