Thanksgiving is almost here and with it comes family, friends, feasts, festivities…and fires? Yes. Unfortunately, according to the American Red Cross, Thanksgiving Day has the highest rate of house fires compared to any other day of the year. Many of these fires stem from the kitchen, where preparations for holiday meals can cause flames that get out of control quickly. Thankfully, avoiding any fire insurance claims on Thanksgiving is a matter of paying attention while you’re cooking and using the following fire prevention tips:
Be engaged and engaging
The holidays are about connecting with family and friends, but entertaining guests can also cause distractions that make it easy to forget about what’s cooking in the oven and on the stovetop. To avoid becoming oblivious to potential fire hazards while you’re cooking, it’s important to stay engaged with the process. Invite guests to gather in the kitchen, or trade kitchen duty among several people so that you can pay attention to the stove, oven, and your guests.
Keep small visitors out of the kitchen
While one of the best preventative measures to avoid a kitchen fire is to always have someone present in the kitchen while food is cooking, this means a responsible adult. Keep small visitors such as young children and pets away from the stove and cooking surfaces. Better yet, keep them out of the kitchen altogether.
Tie one on—an apron vs. alcohol, please
Holidays are certainly the time to celebrate, and if you like a little bit of cheer in the form of alcohol, then please enjoy…but use extra caution if you’re going to be cooking. If you have an alcoholic beverage while you are using the stove (and other kitchen appliances), do so in moderation so that you stay alert and avoid a fire or other accident.
Clear kitchen clutter
Think about the number of fire hazards around your home, especially during the holiday season—and take action! To avoid a fire insurance claim on Thanksgiving (or any other day), it’s important to clear your cooking spaces of things that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, and curtains.
Forego the fryer
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) discourages the use of turkey fryers, which have become a popular way to cook turkeys over the past several years. The NFPA’s stance is that the use of turkey fryers can lead to devastating burns and other injuries, and the destruction of property due to the large amount and high temperature of oil used. Plus, the fire risk is high. If you prefer fried turkey, consider buying one at a grocery store or a specialty food retailer that sells deep fried turkeys.
Know what to do in case of a kitchen fire
If you do have a small (grease) cooking fire, it’s important to know what to do to contain it, if you can do so safely. If the fire is on your stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. If you have any doubt about fighting a small fire leave the kitchen, close the door if there is one and vacate your house or apartment. Then call 9-1-1 from outside your home.
The best defense against having any fire insurance claims on Thanksgiving is, of course, to practice common sense fire prevention measures such as those in the tips above. It’s equally important to review your homeowners insurance policy and fire insurance coverage with an insurance professional. Our team can help you make sure that your coverage is up-to-date and that you have the protection you need in case of a fire during the holidays or at other times of the year, so let’s talk!
Join the Conversation! Connect with Kemner Iott Benz on social media for more holiday tips and tricks.