By: Ragina C Ali, AAA-Mid-Atlantic
TOWSON, MD (Tuesday, November 26, 2019) –– AAA is urging all cooks to take extra precautions today because Thanksgiving is, by far, the number one day for home fires. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), on average, there are three times as many house fires on Thanksgiving compared to every other day of the year.
“For those who are hosting Thanksgiving, there will likely be an abundance of activity and increased number of distractions in the kitchen,” says Welaine Memenza, Regional AAA Insurance spokesperson. “Unfortunately, this is a recipe for disaster. AAA is raising awareness around Thanksgiving house fires because prevention is key.”
According to the NFPA 2019 report on home cooking fires:
- US fire departments responded to an average of almost 175,000 home structure fires per year started by cooking activities in 2013-2017, resulting in more than a billion dollars in damages per year.
- Households that use electric ranges have a higher risk of cooking fires and associated losses than those using gas ranges.
- Unattended cooking was the leading cause of reported cooking fires and casualties.
- More than half (53%) of non-fatal injuries occur when people try to control the fire themselves.
AAA Insurance Tips to Limit Fire Risk:
- Don’t leave the stove unattended while you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, paper recipes, dishtowels, dangling electrical cords – away from the stovetop.
- Don’t use the oven/stovetop if you are tired or have consumed alcohol.
- Don’t wear loose clothing when using the oven or cooking on the stovetop.
- Limit distractions – fires can ignite quickly. Pay attention and check on food regularly.
- Limit activity in the kitchen – while it’s not unusual for guests to gather in the kitchen, encourage children to keep a distance from the oven/stovetop and to play in other rooms.
- Make sure there are WORKING smoke detectors on every floor of the house.
If you do have a fire:
- Get out! – Unless it is a small, stovetop fire that can be easily extinguished, get everyone out of the house as quickly as possible and dial 911.
- If it is a small fire on the stovetop, turn off the source of the heat and smother the fire with a lid if you are able to do so without risk.
- When everyone is safe and the fire has been put out, call your Insurance Agent to report damages and begin the process for filing a claim.