Fire Safety Tips for Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season

Don't let a house fire ruin your holiday season. Safely celebrate Thanksgiving and other holidays to come with these helpful tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and William Shatner-yes, that William Shatner.

Keep Kitchen Flames and Other Heat Sources in Check

The NFPA reports that there are three times as many fires on Thanksgiving Day than on any other day of the year, and the number continues to rise. Follow this good advice when cooking for your family:

  • Do not leave the kitchen area if frying, grilling, or broiling.
  • Check foods that are boiling, simmering, roasting, or baking often; use multiple timers to remind you.
  • Do not place kitchen towels, oven mitts, wood utensils, or food packaging on or next to the stovetop.
  • Save adult beverages for after you finish cooking.
  • Keep lids nearby to smother small grease fires; place the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop.

If a part of your kitchen does catch fire, you have two options. If the fire is small enough for you to put out with a fire extinguisher, do so only after telling others to evacuate the home and to be ready to call 9-1-1. If you know you cannot contain it, get everyone out of the house, shut the door behind you, and call 9-1-1.

Fry Turkey a Safe Distance From Your Home

The NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil. Their use can result in serious burns and destruction of property. It recommends purchasing a fried turkey from a professional or using an oil-less turkey fryer.

If you do plan to use an outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryer, follow these tips from State Farm as introduced by Shatner, who had a bad experience with a turkey fryer himself:

  • Don't overfill the pot.
  • Set up the fryer away from your home and other structures.
  • Turn off the flame when lowering the turkey into the pot.
  • Only fry a completely thawed turkey.
  • Keep a grease-fire-approved fire extinguisher handy.

Christmas Lights - Decorate With Safety in Mind

The NFPA also reports that U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 230 homes fires started with Christmas trees between 2006 and 2010. Among the causes were trees being too close to a heat source, such as a fireplace or candles, and electrical problems. Decorative lights actually caused 14 percent of those fires. These lights also can cause home structure fires. Follow these holiday decorating directions from Mr. Handyman to keep your home from being a statistic:

  • Only decorate with flame-resistant or flame-retardant items.
  • Use only lights approved for a specific use.
  • Inspect them for cracked, frayed or bare wires and loose connections before hanging.
  • Use no more than three sets of lights per extension cord.
  • Plug into ground fault circuit interrupter outlets.
  • Water the tree regularly to keep it from drying out.
  • Keep children and pets away from lights.
  • Turn off lights before leaving home or going to bed.

December ranks as the peak time of year for home candle fires. If the holidays simply aren't the same without candles as decorations, consider using flameless candles. These battery-operated décor items allow you to add the warmth of candle flame to your home without the fear of them getting knocked over and starting a fire.

If you have any questions about how to cook or decorate safely during the holiday season, do not hesitate to contact a professional. Your handyman can even take over many of the decorating tasks to ensure only properly working lights and other décor adds a festive touch to your home.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements, and maintenance needs, and request service now online. Repair. Improve. Maintain. One call does it all!