Holidays are the most dangerous time for house fires. It’s the time of the year when everyone is busy cooking and preparing to think about safety. According to U.S. Fire Administration:
- An estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated average of 5 deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss.
- Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from 12 to 4 p.m., peaking from noon to 1 p.m.
- 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.
- Electrical malfunctions (14 percent), carelessness or other unintentional actions (14 percent), and open flames (13 percent) are the leading causes of the larger, nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings.
- Nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings most often start in cooking areas and kitchens (22 percent).
- The leading category of factors contributing to ignition of nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is the “misuse of material or product” (35 percent). Within this category, heat source too close to combustible materials and abandoned or discarded materials account for 14 percent and 9 percent of all nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings, respectively.
- No smoke alarms were present in 20 percent of nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires in occupied residential buildings
Fire accidents are preventable. Don’t let mishaps ruin Thanksgiving for you and your family. Consider these Thanksgiving fire safety tips and prevent fires before they happen.
1. When cooking, keep an eye on the food. If you need to leave the kitchen, even for a while, turn off the stove.
2. Keep any flammable materials away from the stovetop.
3. Keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove.
4. If you’re going to use a turkey fryer, maker sure it’s outside, on a safe distance from houses and anything that can catch fire.
5. Always have an all-purpose fire extinguisher on hand in case of a fire. If the fire is spreading quickly, call the fire department for help.