Holiday Feasts and Home Fires
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it is crucial that we use caution while preparing our holiday feasts and have a preparedness plan for cooking fires. Cooking is a great way to bring family and friends together but is the number one cause of home fires and injuries. Did you know that during 2009 – 2013 that U.S. Fire Departments handled an average of 162,400 home fires involving cooking equipment per year and these fires caused an annual average of 430 civilian deaths, 5,400 civilian injuries and $1.1 billion in direct property damage?
Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. In fact, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) states that there are nearly 4,300 fires on Thanksgiving Day. That’s more than double the daily average for residential fires. The leading cause of Thanksgiving Day fires is food that is left unattended while cooking, which is why SERVPRO of Bordentown/Pemberton asks for you to be aware while entertaining!
Here are some interesting statistics regarding Cooking Fires:
- Forty-Two percent of surveyed consumers say they have left the kitchen to talk or text on the phone, and 35 percent to use the computer to check email while food is cooking. If you tend to do a lot of cooking, invest in a second or third timer. They're an inexpensive way to stay safe while ensuring that your holiday dishes do not overcook.
- Nearly half (45 percent) of consumers say they have left the room to watch television or listen to music. Multi-tasking during the busy holiday season is tempting. If you succumb, it's important not to leave the stove or oven unattended
- Nearly one third (29 percent) of consumers reported that they have intentionally disabled smoke alarms while cooking.
- More than half (56 percent) of surveyed consumers said they plan to cook for family or friends during the holidays this year - with 42 percent of those cooking for groups of 11 or more.
- A large majority (83 percent) acknowledged that they have engaged in dangerous cooking behaviors such as disabling the smoke alarm and leaving cooking food unattended to perform non-essential activities - including watching television, talking or texting on the phone, checking email or doing laundry.
- Looking at the general survey population, a startling one in 10 adults has actually left the home completely while cooking, and others left cooking food unattended to perform non-essential activities.
(Survey Source: Liberty Mutual Insurance, 2013)
If you are aware of how to stay safe AND what to do in case you experience a cooking disaster, you should be able to enjoy this time with your family and friends. If all else fails, call SERVPRO of Bordentown/Pemberton! We have the equipment, expertise and experience to help make the disaster like it never even happened. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!