PIERRE, S.D. – Whether hosting Thanksgiving at home or traveling somewhere else to celebrate the holiday, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety and its agencies remind the public that safety must be a priority.
For those staying at home, state Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says nationally, Thanksgiving is when the most home cooking fires happen every year. Merriman says it is important, at all times of the year, to have working smoke alarms on each level of the home
“Many Thanksgiving gatherings occur in the kitchen, so people need to stay alert to cooking food on stoves or in ovens,” he said. “It is also important to be careful with the use of candles, fireplaces and other heating sources located throughout the home.”
The Thanksgiving holiday also is a busy one on the highways. The Highway Patrol will conduct a statewide “Operation Safe” Wednesday to encourage people to be safe drivers and troopers also will be on the road throughout the weekend.
“With so many things going on for this holiday, it is easy to get distracted and forget to focus on driving,” said Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller. “We remind drivers to slow down, avoid distractions, don’t drink and drive and wear a seatbelt.”
The 102-hour holiday reporting period for motor vehicle traffic crashes begins at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 23, and ends at midnight, Sunday, Nov. 27. The state Office of Highway Safety says last year in South Dakota during the same reporting period, there were 195 vehicle crashes resulting in 27 injuries and two fatalities.
While the weather should be good for travel, drivers are encouraged to check road conditions by calling 5-1-1 or click onto sd511.org.