Updated: Nov 9, 2020
It’s that time of year again, folks... The holiday season is here. Thanksgiving is fast-approaching. Friends and family will soon gather around the table to share a meal and each other’s company. It’s a time filled with laughter and joy, excitement and anticipation.... And it’s in the excited atmosphere that mistakes are made.
The NFPA estimates there are 4,000 house fires on Thanksgiving Day, usually cooking-related. We’re here to help with any fire damage, smoke damage, or soot damage you may have, but avoiding the potential disaster is always best.
Here’s our 10 Safety Tips for Thanksgiving:
Fry Outside - As the popularity of fried turkey grows, so does the amount of fryer-caused house fires. When a deep fryer causes a fire, either because of operator error or malfunction. That huge, sudden eruption of flames and boiling oil can cause massive fire damage, smoke damage, and can sometimes be deadly. Always use the fryer outdoors on a flat surface, safely away from structures, wooden decks, and covered patios. No matter what, DO NOT be tempted to use the fryer in a garage. Keep pets and kids away as fryers tip over easily and keep the appropriate type of fire extinguisher at the ready.
Pot Handles In - Thanksgiving involves cooking and cooking involves pot and pans. Those pots and pans have handles. Those handles should be turned so they don’t hang over the front of the stove. When they hang over the front, small children can grab them, or they can get caught on your clothing while cooking. Both of these scenarios can have disastrous results as they can cause the hot contents to spill causing severe burns and kitchen fires. Play it safe and be mindful of where those handles are!
Watch Those Candles - While candles help set the mood around the house and at the dinner table, they have an ugly side. The NFPA reports that from 2012-2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 8,200 home structure fires that were started by candles per year. These fires caused an annual average of 80 deaths, 770 injuries, and $264 million in direct property damage. Even without causing a structure fire, candles can cause soot damage to your home if they’re not used properly. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning and dripping as well as heavy smoke and soot, so keep the wicks trimmed.
Clean the Oven - How exactly can a dirty oven be the cause of a house fire? Quite often people neglect the fact that the oil we use when cooking is flammable. A dirty oven with oil or grease buildup on the inside combined with high temperatures used in cooking creates the perfect opportunity for a fire. Clean the oven so you can have peace of mind.
Watch the Dishwasher - There are a few reasons a dishwasher might leak while running through a cycle. The most common reasons dishwashers cause water damage is a leaking door or a faulty water inlet valve. Whatever the reason, though, you can’t stop the water from flooding your kitchen if you’re asleep and don’t know it’s happening. Make sure the dishwasher is finished running through its cycle before going to bed, so you don’t wake up to an unpleasant surprise!
Stay Home While Cooking - According to the NFPA, unattended equipment is a factor in one-third (32%) of reported home cooking fires and half (45%) of the associated deaths. They also report that Thanksgiving Day is the peak day for home cooking fires. If the oven is on, stay home to monitor what’s going on.
Fire Extinguishers…Be Proactive, Not Reactive - A fire extinguisher can’t help you if it’s expired or the wrong type. Make sure your fire extinguishers are up to date and are of the appropriate type. During the frenzy of trying to use a fire extinguisher is not the time to read the label to learn how to use it. Read the instructions beforehand and make sure you know how to use it BEFORE the emergency happens. Also, the extinguisher won’t do you any good if you can’t get to it because it’s stored too close to the source of the fire.
Grease Fires - The NFPA has a great article about kitchen grease fires. These types of fires can spread extremely quickly and can cause heavy soot damage, structural damage, smoke damage, and can even result in traumatic injury and death. Extreme caution needs to be taken when dealing with this type of fire. Don’t try to be a hero. Evacuate the house then call the Fire Department from a safe distance.
Clean Up Before Going to Bed - Holiday parties can be exhausting. Especially for the host. Before retiring though, take a few minutes to walk through the house and make sure potential hazards are dealt with. For example: make sure all candles are put out, make sure the festive fire in the fireplace is burned out and the fireplace is secured and make sure the oven and all burners are off to name a few. A little bit of diligence here, even though you’re tired, can go a long way to prevent a disaster or a tragedy.
Call the Fire Department - Even a small house fire can cause severe damage very quickly. According to the NFPA, after just a minute and a half, a small fire can raise the temperature of the room to over 190° and completely fill it with toxic smoke. When you have a fire of any size, evacuate the house and call the Fire Department right away. They are trained to keep everyone safe and minimize the fire damage. Even if you’ve managed to extinguish the fire, call the Fire Department. Fire damage can easily hide inside wall cavities, above ceilings and under floors. Your local Fire Department knows how to inspect your property to ensure the fire is out, even in the spaces you can’t see.
Be happy, be thankful and most of all, be safe. If you take all the precautions you can think of and still have a problem, remember:
Remember, we’re Here To Help..... Anytime! Even on Thanksgiving Day.