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. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “from 2014 to 2016, an estimated 2,400 residential building fires were reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day and caused an estimated 5 deaths, 25 injuries and $19 million in property loss.”
More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reports that, “in 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires” compared with the average day (with Christmas Day and Christmas Eve not far behind). Unattended cooking was, by far, the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
Before you bake, broil, grill, sear or fry, remember these tips for fireproof feasts:
•Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop, so you can keep an eye on the food. Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
•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. Keep children away from the stove.
•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.
•Make sure smoke alarms are working. 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 your AAA insurance agent or 888-671-7044, or visit your local branch.
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 880,000 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.