By AAA of Western and Central New York
Food is a big part of holiday fun, but festivities can take your attention away from cooking and lead to fires. Cooking caused half of residential building fires in 2015, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reports three times as many home fires (an increase of 230 percent) occur on that holiday, compared with the average day. Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are not far behind.
Before you bake, broil, grill, sear or fry, remember these tips for fireproof feasts:
•Avoid an overcooked meal - or worse - by having someone on cooking duty at all times. If you have to leave, turn off cooking equipment first.
•Plan television time, video chats, chores and other activities outside of meal preparation time, to limit distractions.
•Everyone loves hanging out in the kitchen - which can lead to bumps, spills and other injuries, especially when kids are involved. To minimize accidents and divert traffic, put snacks, games and toys in another room.
•Grills should only be used outdoors.
•If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, step away from cooking and designate a "driver" to take the lead.
•Keep dishtowels, oven mitts, paper products and other flammable materials away from heat.
•Smother grease fires with a metal lid or baking soda. Never use water and make sure to turn off the heat first. If a fire starts in the oven, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
•Have a fully functional fire extinguisher handy for emergencies. Call 911 for help if a fire occurs.
Play it safe this season and make sure your home is protected. For more information about home or renters insurance, call an AAA insurance agent at 888-671-7044 or visit a local branch.
As upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 870,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.