As residents prepare for cooler weather and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, they’re being reminded of several important fire safety tips to keep their homes and families safe.
The U.S. Fire Administration reports that nearly 2,400 house fires occur nationwide on Thanksgiving alone. These incidents result in numerous fatalities, injuries and $19 million worth of property losses. Many of these home fires are due to deep-frying accidents.
“More cooking fires occur during the Thanksgiving holiday than any other day of the year. In fact, cooking is often the No. 1 source of house fires in the commonwealth,” said State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego. “Furthermore, as the seasons change and more and more Pennsylvanians begin heading indoors, many are choosing to turn on their home-heating for the first time. Annual tune-ups and inspections are excellent ways to prevent issues with carbon monoxide and fires, particularly if using a system that utilizes an open flame.”
“According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2014 and 2018, home cooking fires caused an average of $1 billion in direct property damage each year, often peaking at Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman. “Consumers should ensure that their belongings and even new gifts are covered under their homeowners or renters insurance, as many policies have lower limits for valuables such as electronics, jewelry and firearms.”
Turkey fryer tips:
– Read the turkey fryer owner’s manual thoroughly for proper set-up and safety tips
– Do not deep fry your turkey inside your garage, on your porch or deck, or inside your home
– Use your fryer outside, away from trees, walls, fences and other structures
– Make sure the turkey is completely thawed (hot oil and ice/water do not mix)
– Have an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby; never use water to extinguish oil fires
Home heating tips:
– Keep areas around your furnace free of clutter and combustible material; never set items on top of your furnace
– Regularly replace furnace filters
– Likewise, keep combustible materials a safe distance from vent/exhaust lines
– Call a professional if you notice a problem; many offer annual tune-up services
Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector tips:
– Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area; install alarms on every level of the home, including the basement
– Test all alarms at least once a month; press the test button to be sure the alarm is working
– People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms; these alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers
– Have a home escape plan and practice it with your entire family
Hazards associated with the presence of carbon monoxide are a serious threat to Pennsylvanians, and the state routinely ranks among the nation’s worst affected. Since it is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas, it can incapacitate victims before they are aware that they have been exposed. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often include nausea, headaches, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue. These symptoms can be easily confused with flu and COVID-19 symptoms, making it exceptionally important to utilize a carbon monoxide detector.
Homeowners insurance policies generally cover the structure of a home, personal belongings and liability protection for injured guests. However, increased preparedness and awareness of possible dangers can help homeowners avoid these types of costly claims. Renters should note that their landlord’s insurance will not cover their personal belongings. Renters insurance is highly recommended for those looking to protect their assets.
Visit BeFireSafePA.com for more information.