Did you know the leading day for home cooking fires is Thanksgiving? This according to the National Fire Protection Association. There are three times as many cooking fires on Thanksgiving than any other day.
It is an estimated 2000 fires are reported on Thanksgiving day alone, which results in over $21 million in property losses, ouch!
Cooking is the leading cause of Thanksgiving day fires and contributes to almost 70% of reported occurrences. According to the Insurance Information Institute the average cost of these home losses tops $33,000 per claim.
Below are 5 tips you can take to reduce the chance of fire and stay safe this holiday season.
1. Don’t wonder from the kitchen. The National Fire Prevention Association’s campaign is: Stand by your Pan!
*Fires start when your stove is left unattended. Foods that pose the highest risk: frying, grilling or broiling
*Use a timer
*If you do have to leave, ask someone to cover or turn it off until you return
*Although it seems silly, don’t use the stove, oven or any other heating appliance if you have consumed alcohol.
Thanksgiving is such a busy time; family, friends, football and a feast to prepare. Be sure to take the necessary precautions and not leave the stove.
2. Cover to smoother
Throw a lid on a grease fire, smothering is best. Don’t try to put out a grease fire with water or an extinguisher. But if the fire is from paper, wood, trash or other combustibles, then use a fire extinguisher. Everyone should have a small extinguisher in their kitchen. Just be sure to check and make sure it is still good each year. And hopefully before the holiday cooking begins.
3. Make sure your smoke alarms are in working order.
20% of non-confined kitchen fires occur in residential building with no smoke alarms. Smoke alarms alert you and give you time to escape, make sure yours is active. Be sure that you test your alarms and that the batteries have been replaced. Did you know the smoke alarm unit should be replaced every 8-10 years? Here is another great benefit to smoke alarms, it gives you a discount on your homeowners insurance.
4. Combustibles off the stove
I’m talking about your oven mitts and pot holders. We all use them to get items in and out of the oven and with the pots and pans on the stove. When they are too close to the heat, they can ignite. This is the leading contributor to Thanksgiving fires. Try to keep the area free of combustibles while you are cooking, clean as you go. That way you don’t have the plastic, paper, oven mitts, pot holders, dish towels or anything else (long sleeves) that could ignite close to the heat. Also, be sure to clean up any spills, specially grease that may be close to the burners. Always be alert.
5. Are you covered
Accidents happen and should you experience a loss you want to make sure that your homeowners policy is up to date. Have your limits been updated lately, do you have replacement cost, what is your deductible? If you have remodeled for the holidays, you may want to let your agent know so that your policy can reflect the changes you have made. If you have recently purchased any high-value items (early Christmas presents, jewelry, electronics, etc) make sure they are properly covered. Most homeowners policies have special limits on these items, you may need to schedule them on an endorsement to properly protect them. Also, be sure to update your personal property inventory. Include descriptions, photos and receipts of valuables. This will help in the event of a loss and cause a lot less anxiety during the holidays.
Follow these simple steps and have a wonderful, safe and happy holiday season!