Did I put too much salt in the gravy? Will grandma ask me why I’m still not married? Will the Steelers beat the Ravens? These are valid Thanksgiving Day concerns and hopefully the biggest worries you’ll have this coming Thursday. Unfortunately, the holiday can bring up a cornucopia of other troubles, from cooking accidents and injuries, to home and car safety issues. Below, we’ve outlined a handful of steps you can take to make sure this is one of your most memorable Thanksgivings – for all of the right reasons.
PREVENTING A FIRE
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment. Moreover, cooking is the leading cause of reported home fires year-round, accounting for nearly half of all US home fires (48 percent) and reported home fire injuries (45 percent), as well as one-fifth (21 percent) of home fire deaths. These stats are a good reminder to use caution when preparing your Thanksgiving Day feast.
Deep Frying a Turkey
You’re probably not alone if your top question now is, “Can I still prepare that tasty deep-fried turkey?” While it’s not an absolute “no,” you should be aware that turkey fryers can lead to severe burns or other injuries, and even property damage, even if you’re extremely careful. Deep-frying a turkey requires a substantial amount of hot oil which can splash, spill or combust.
Butterball offers helpful cooking and safety tips whether you’re frying indoors or outdoors. As with any cooking, don’t leave your deep fryer unattended and keep children away from the frying area. Alternatively, NFPA suggests contacting your local grocery store, a specialty food retailer or restaurants that sell deep-fried turkeys so you don’t have to encounter any risk.
With family and friends going in and out of the house, TV and music volume, and possibly alcohol, it’s easy to be distracted while you’re cooking. Below are a few quick tips for keeping you and your home safe from accidents.
- It’s tempting to try and accomplish other things while food is cooking, especially a turkey that takes hours, but you should check on food frequently and never leave your home while your oven or other cooking appliances are on.
- Make sure you have timers set so food doesn’t burn and potentially set off smoke alarms or worse, cause a fire. Keep the timer next to you so you don’t miss it over loud conversations or other noise.
- Keep your prep space clean and organized. Oven mitts, paper towels and dish towels, food wrappers and other easily combustible items should be kept at least three feet away from heat and flames.
- Don’t wear billowy clothing that could come in contact with heat and flames.
- Confirm that smoke alarms have new batteries and are properly working before you being cooking.
- Avoid cooking if you’re drinking heavily.
It’s always a good idea to check your homeowners or renters insurance coverage if the worst does happen and you experience a fire or related loss.
AVOIDING CAR ACCIDENTS
Drinking and Driving
This should be a no-brainer but, don’t drink and drive! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drunk driving still causes 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. If you’re planning on drinking on Thanksgiving (or any day), arrange for a designated driver or call a cab, Uber or another service to get you safely from place to place. Depending on your location, you may be able to call AAA and use their Tipsy Tow service.
Be mindful of who you hand your keys over to as well. Even if you’re watching your alcohol intake, your family member offering to run up to the grocery store for the missing ingredient may not be as sober as you think. Generally speaking, it’s always a good idea to limit loaning out your car. You may be on the hook as the insured if they get in an accident.
Review Your Auto Insurance Policy Before Hitting the Road
It’s widely reported that the week of Thanksgiving is the busiest travel period of the year, with millions of Americans traveling 50+. This means the likelihood of getting in a car crash increases exponentially. While comprehensive car insurance coverage can’t prevent an accident, it can cover costs for vehicle damage and injuries. If you’re renting a car, determine what your policy will cover or not, and consider rental car insurance if necessary.
While you can’t predict other drivers’ behavior, you can take a few steps to safeguard yourself.
- Give yourself extra time. Weather is often bad this time of year and with additional cars on the road, this is a Thanksgiving recipe for disaster if you’re rushing or stressed to make up for time in snow, rain and ice.
- Secure food and other items. The last thing you want is additional hazards distracting you while driving. Prevent food from sliding around and ensure everything has tight lids.
- Protect your pets. If your furry friends will be traveling with you, use a strapped in harness or other safety belt to keep them in one place. If you have to brake suddenly, this can avoid possible injuries.
- Pack a roadside emergency kit. This is a good idea year-round, but especially in inclement weather and times when AAA or other roadside services may take longer to get to you.
PROTECTING YOUR HOME WHILE YOU’RE AWAY
Unfortunately, the holiday season can see an uptick in home robberies. Thieves know homes are often empty for days at a time and take advantage of this. Here are a few measures to take to keep your home safe while you’re away:
- Keep your travel plans off social media. This can be a tough one since you want to share photos and good times with friends and family, but consider waiting until you’re back in town so the wrong person doesn’t become aware of your absence.
- Put your lights on a timer and use motion detectors for outdoor lights.
- Get a safe for small valuables such as jewelry and family heirlooms.
- Ask a neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your home and pick up any mail so it doesn’t pile up and tip off burglars.
- Arrange for yard service to clear away snow and ice while you’re away so it appears someone is hone.
- As an added precaution, invest in an outdoor security camera that you can monitor from anywhere.
Homeowners insurance such as dwelling coverage and personal property coverage may help recover costs in the instance of a break-in. Hopefully, you’ll never be the victim of a home burglary, but you should be aware of what your homeowners policy covers and be sure to document your home inventory in advance to expedite the claims process.
Questions about home insurance? Contact Morgan Insurance Group at 305-222-9001 firstname.lastname@example.org.