Safety Tips for Thanksgiving

Just about everyone is getting ready for the holidays. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, people tune up their cars to take long drives to see faraway relatives in safety, kitchens are cleaned from top to bottom in preparation for one of the biggest cooking days of the year, and everything from new tablecloths to the family china is pulled out and set up for the big day. However, what many don’t realize is that this holiday, like all holidays involving a great deal of travel or preparation, also brings with it a fair share of risk.

Don’t Burn the Turkey

In 2012, the National Fire Protection Association reported that there are more house fires on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. It’s not a small increase in incidents, either: Thanksgiving day sees an increase of up to 200 percent above the daily average.

It’s easy enough to laugh off the concern with a reminder that your insurance policy covers fire, but this is a serious problem during the holidays. While there are increases in house fires on Christmas and Easter as well, or any holiday that involves a great deal of cooking, the fact that the risk of fire on Thanksgiving is higher than on Independence Day (which is celebrated with literal explosions) points to a national habit of carelessness that any homeowner needs to address.

Here are a few of the biggest mistakes made by homeowners across the country:

  • Using a turkey fryer indoors
  • Turning off the smoke alarm to keep it from sounding if a dish burns
  • Leaving pot holders and oven mitts on the stove while cooking
  • Letting table centerpiece candles burn all day
  • Putting food in the oven to cook and running errands away from the home

Because preparing for Thanksgiving dinner takes so much time and effort, it’s common for people to follow a “set it and forget it” method for many dishes, leaving them untouched and unmonitored for over an hour at a time. If a homeowner makes any of these mistakes and then leaves the home, the risk of fire skyrockets.

Protect Your Home and Holiday

Homeland Security and the American Red Cross report that 80 percent of Americans don’t know that home fires are the most common disaster nationwide. The idea that burning dinner could result in burning down the house is certainly reason to worry, but thankfully a following a few easy safety tips will make it easy to make your holiday safe and worry-free.

Here are the easiest tips to keep your Thanksgiving safe:

  • Don’t leave the home while cooking is in progress
  • Stay in the room while more volatile cooking methods are in use (i.e.: frying or grilling)
  • Keep your stove and counter clear of flammable materials
  • Test smoke alarms before starting preparations, and don’t deactivate them
  • Use turkey fryers outdoors and away from flammable materials
  • Check on all cooking dishes regularly

Don’t just protect your home from fire and damage this season, protect your whole family’s holiday cheer by following these tips, and other guidelines offered by the NFPA and public safety groups. Even with the risk involved, as long as you’re responsible this holiday season you’ll have nothing to worry about.