Thanksgiving is a great holiday for those of us who enjoy overstuffing on delicious homemade food, spending time with family, and watching a little football. However, things are not always gravy for everyone in America when Turkey Day rolls around. Thanksgiving is by far the number one day in the United States for home cooking fires according to the National Fire Protection Association 2020 Home Cooking Fires Report, and other days are not even close.
Firefighters responded to over 1,600 home-cooking fires on Thanksgiving in 2018 – almost triple the daily average of 470. The next biggest day for home cooking fires shows to be a tie between Christmas Day and the day preceding Thanksgiving.
The average insurance claim for home cooking fires was a whopping $6,900 from 2014 through 2018 according to the NFPA. So before you gather at the dinner table this Thursday, it may be time to ensure you are covered with a good home insurance policy. A standard policy will cover fire damage to your house and belongings. If you have extensive fire damage that forces you to relocate temporarily you will want to check your policy’s ‘additional living expenses coverage, also known as loss of use. This can cover your extra costs while your home is being mended, such as hotel bills.
If you are concerned about a potential accident you may want to look at your Thanksgiving plans. A deep-fried turkey is certainly delicious, but deep-fried turkey also carries extra risks. Deep fryers were responsible for the highest death rate among every 1,000 home cooking fires according to the NFPA. They are also responsible for the second-highest average claims among home cooking fires. If you insist on using a deep fryer, ensure you take the necessary safety precautions to minimize your risk.
In addition to keeping the deep fryer put away, you can also avoid potential cooking accidents by following a few simple tips.
- Keep your cooking area free of flammable objects such as towels, wrappers, and oven mitts. Items left too close to the stove are potential fire starters.
- Avoid wearing long sleeves or fabrics that hang and could encounter sources of heat.
- Never leave your kitchen when anything is being cooked on the stovetop.
- Stay home while your turkey or other items are in the over and regularly check on them.
- Remain alert – if you are too tired or too tipsy it is a good idea to have someone assisting you in the kitchen. The NFPA warns against cooking while under the influence or when overly tired.
- Keep small children at least 3 feet away from the stove or other areas where hot food or drinks are being prepared.
- Test your smoke alarms to ensure they are in working order.
- Set timers when you cook to help prevent forgetting to check on food.
- Never throw water on a grease fire that is occurring in a pan on top of your stove. Instead, turn off the burner and cover the fire with a lid or larger pan to smother it.
- If a fire breaks out in your over, turn it off and keep the door closed.
- Ensure you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen somewhere easily accessible.
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