Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Do you live in an area of the country where the weather permits you to host an outdoor feast with your family and friends—and behold the beauty of nature that complements your pool cover? If so, you should consider the safety of your guests and follow these tips to ensure your holiday meal goes off without a hitch.

First, you want to clean up your backyard. Remove any leaves, twigs, and brush. Your guests should have plenty of room to circulate during the meal. Secure any canopies or tents so that they do not collapse, and make sure your tables and chairs are sturdy. Check any patio heaters to ensure they are clean and in working order. Do the same for your fire pit or patio fireplace. Test them to see they are functional and pose no safety hazards. Don’t leave any firewood lying around that your guests could trip over. Get a firewood holder instead. Cleaning the backyard should result in an incident-free family football game before the big meal!

It’s also important to inspect your grill area. Keep combustible items away from all burners and heat sources. Establish a kid-free zone of several feet around the grill where hot foods and drinks can be prepared and carried. If you are using a turkey deep fryer to prepare the turkey, do not put it on a wooden deck. Place the fryer on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping. Make sure it is a safe distance from your house and pool area. And, never leave it unattended. Most fryers do not have thermostat controls. Therefore, if they are not monitored carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it eventually catches fire.

Speaking of the grill area, keep a close eye on any “kitchen novices.” Family members who don’t usually cook may want to help, but this can also result in cuts and lacerations from using knives and other sharp implements. Make sure your helpers also use protective oven mitts around the grill and turkey fryer. It is also important not to wear any loose clothing that could get caught when cooking or moving hot foods. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby, just in case of a manageable fire. If the fire increases, notify the fire department immediately and exit the backyard.

If you plan on continuing the celebration after the sun goes down, make sure you have plenty of light to keep your guests safe. Hang some LED lights and place some lanterns around the patio area. It will also add to the festive atmosphere and provide some soft light for coffee and dessert. Use some herbs such as mint, rosemary, and sage to keep bugs at bay naturally.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and appreciate all that life has to offer. It is a priceless time to enjoy the company of family and friends—and being outdoors really adds to the festivities. These tips should give you peace of mind and the ability to relax, reflect, and enjoy! The memories will last a lifetime.