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Thanksgiving Safety

Updated on March 12, 2017

Thanksgiving Safety

On Thanksgiving Day, many families customarily spend the holiday inside their home or the home of a friend or family member with the family dinner being the highlight of the day. The hustle and bustle of the day can cause sometimes cause more then just a turkey being cooked.

Because of this holiday custom the average number of reported residential building fires on Thanksgiving Day from 2006 to 2008 almost doubled (49 percent) from the average number of fires in residential buildings on all days other than Thanksgiving (26 percent).

According to the U.S. Fire Administration recent Thanksgiving Day fire report from 2006 to 2008 cooking is the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings at 69 percent. Nearly all of these cooking fires (97 percent) are small, confined fires with limited damage. Heating, at 10 percent, is the next leading cause of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings. These fires occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from noon to 4 p.m.

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of non-confined Thanksgiving Day fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings. An estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of 5 deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss. A working smoke alarm can reduce your chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.


Leading causes of large non-confined fires

  • The “misuse of material or product” 35 percent,
  • Electrical malfunctions 20 percent,
  • Carelessness or other unintentional actions, heat source too close to combustible materials and abandoned or discarded materials 14 percent,
  • Operation deficiency or mechanical malfunction 12 percent,
  • Open flames 13 percent,
  • Other unknown factors 5 percent,
  • Natural condition 1 percent.


Thanksgiving Safety Tips

When making up your Thanksgiving list of reminders, include the safety precautions below, to make sure that you and yours have a safe and happy holiday.

  • Check your smoke alarm to make sure it is working,
  • Take time to read instructions on all new appliances.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking, that includes dangling sleeves that catch on fire quickly;
  • Stay close when cooking, do not wander off;
  • If the kids are helping you cook, set down rules on what they can and can not do, be aware of where they are at all times;
  • If candles are part of your centerpiece make sure they are secure and remember to put them out before the burn down to low;
  • Be aware of where you lay down hot pads, towels, wooden utensils;
  • Throw empty food packages, and paper or plastic bags/wrappers in the garbage can right away, do not leave them laying;
  • If using a turkey fryer, keep it outdoors, open and away from house, fences and garage – remember to lower turkey in slowly, keep away from moisture and follow manufacturers instructions – they do not include them for no reason.


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