Thanksgiving advice: How to avoid a Turkey Day plumbing disaster

Plus, tips to keep your kitchen safe

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days of the year for plumbers, and there are things you may not know that can keep the feast going without a hitch.

Many would agree that the worst part of Thanksgiving is the cleanup. All those dirty dishes, greasy pots and pans, food scraps pile up on your kitchen counter, and it seems so easy just to chuck it all down the garbage disposal.

Jeff Morgan with Morgan Miller Plumbing says that's not a good idea. Although some foods will go down the disposal just fine, they could get caught in the pipes and cause thousands of dollars in damage.

Here'a a list of foods Morgan says you shouldn't put down the disposal on Thanksgiving Day, or any day of the year:

    * celery
    * potatoes and potato skins
    * rice
    * coffee grounds
    * turkey bones
    * pasta
    * corn husks
    * egg shells
    * lettuce
    * grease

Remember to only put small amounts of food down the disposal at one time, Morgan advises. While it may be more time-consuming to slowly feed your disposal, it will pay off as the disposal will last longer. Keep the water running while the disposal is running and for about one minute after if finishes to rinse the disposal clean.

The Red Cross is also warning homeowners that too much distraction can turn your festive holiday into a disaster. From the turkey to the pumpkin pie and all the goodies in between, even experienced cooks will have a lot on their minds Thursday. The Red Cross warns losing focus for just a moment can lead to a fire or injury in your kitchen.

Across the country, 2,000 fires happen every year on Thanksgiving Day, according to FEMA. Therefore, the Red Cross says during the holidays renters and homeowners should make sure their insurance is up to date.

The number one thing they're telling cooks is to forget about entertaining while you're trying to cook and to focus on keeping your kitchen organized. Becky Hofzinger with the Red Cross suggests making sure pan handles are pointed toward the inside walls of the kitchen, ensuring nobody can walk by and knock the pan over.

Also, she says hosts should make sure you have a baby gate to keep children and pets out of the kitchen and away from hot appliances.

The Red Cross suggests setting rules for a kid and pet free zone. Also avoid feeding your pets onions, garlic and any chicken or turkey bones, which can splinter in their stomachs.

Ashley Flores at Wayside Waifs Animal Rescue suggests reminding guests to steer clear of feeding animals any scraps. "A lot of people give animals several treats for Thanksgiving. Some of the best things are simply dog or cat treats. Give them something special that they don't ordinarily have instead of human food which could be toxic to the animal", Flores explained.

Another tip is to keep all surfaces clean to prevent grease buildup, which could cause a grease fire to start. "Make sure everyone knows the emergency plan in case there's a fire. People will have house guests and you should make sure everyone knows how to escape 2 ways from every room," Hofzinger explained.

The Red Cross also has a new first aid smart phone app, which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies into the palm of your hands.

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