The biggest emergency on Thanksgiving should be whether or not there's enough pumpkin pie for a second serving. Take a few precautions this season to make sure your plans aren't interrupted by bigger problems.
Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe This Thanksgiving
While at home
Whether you are cooking a feast for your extended family or you are going to a friend’s house, chances are there will be cooking involved. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the number one day for home-cooking fires. Here are some ways to stay safe in the kitchen.
- Install smoke alarms. You’ll want a smoke alarm in or near the kitchen, on each level of the home, and in sleeping areas. If you already have smoke alarms in your home, be sure to check to make sure they are working. It’s also a good idea to replace the batteries at least once a year. Some security providers, like Vivint, offer smoke alarms as part of a home security package.
- Remove fire hazards. Remove anything near the stove that could catch fire, including wooden utensils, oven mitts, plastic bags, or towels.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Be familiar with how the extinguisher works and teach your family to use it as well.
- Take extra precaution with turkey fryers. Turkey fryers increase your risk of burn or fire hazards, and the National Fire Protection Association reports that more than $15 million dollars in property damage occurs every year in the U.S. due to deep fryer fires. Be sure the oil used to fry the turkey is the right temperature and always fry outside in a well-ventilated area.
- Avoid toxic air. If you are using a natural gas or propane stove, be careful of a carbon monoxide build up in the home. Run vents in the kitchen, particularly the ones directly over the stove and open any windows or doors in the kitchen at least once an hour to circulate fresh air.
- Be prepared in case of a fire. In case of fire on the stove, shut the stove off, cover the fire or burning pan with a lid, and use the fire extinguisher. Do not use salt, flour, or water to try to put out the fire because these substances could cause a stove fire to flare up. For a fire in the oven, turn the oven off and leave the door closed. Call 911 to report a fire and leave the home.
- Be careful with candles. If you are lighting candles for decoration or scent, remember to never leave the candles burning unattended and be sure to keep any items that could catch fire away.
If you are traveling for the holiday, like many people do, you’ll want to make sure your home is protected while you are away. If you are traveling this Thanksgiving:
- Install a home security system. Many home security systems do much more than alert you if a burglar enters your home. Some companies also offer 24-hour fire monitoring services, smoke alarms, or a web-based systems that lets you check in from your smartphone or laptop while you are away. ADT has affordable packages to help secure your home with added bonuses like smoke alarms and web-based monitoring.
- Don’t post your travel plans on social media sites. You may have your privacy settings turned on, but you still never know who could see this private information and what they’ll do with it.
- Set lights on timers. Inside and outside lights should be set on automatic timers to turn lights on and off at various times throughout the night.
- Turn your telephone ringer down. Doing this will prevent someone on the outside from hearing repeated rings that go unanswered. Also review your answering machine message to make sure there is no mention of you being out of town.
- Stop all mail and newspaper delivery. Be sure to stop any daily deliveries, like mail or a newspaper, while you are away. If you don’t want to stop delivery, ask a neighbor or friend to pick up your mail.
- Lock all windows and doors. Don’t forget to lock the upstairs windows as well.
- Never leave a key hidden outside. Under a rock, under the mat, or in an outdoor light fixture are all places a burglar will look for your spare key. Instead, leave a key with a trusted neighbor or nearby relative.
This Thanksgiving, play it safe both at home and while traveling. Keep these safety tips in mind and be thankful for your home and family’s safety.