Thanksgiving Day fires from 2011-2013 caused an estimated $28 million in property loss. (Photo: iStock)
Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen when preparing this year’s Thanksgiving feast because it’s better to be safe than sorry. An estimated 2,100 residential building fires were reported to fire departments in the United States on Thanksgiving Day for each year from 2011 to 2013, and caused an estimated 10 deaths, 50 injuries and $28 million in property loss, according to the U.S. Fire Administration and data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System.
Be sure to keep anything that can catch fire — pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains — away from the stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generate heat. (Photo: iStock)
The average number of reported residential building fires on Thanksgiving Day is more than double (2.1 times more) the average number of fires in homes on all days other than Thanksgiving.
Something to be thankful for: Residential Thanksgiving fires result in a lower average financial loss than fires on other days. (Photo: iStock)
The good news: The average financial losses for Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is less than for non-Thanksgiving Day fires.
The three-year average dollar loss for residential fires on Thanksgiving Day was $11,360 vs. $15,790 for non-Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings, according to the 2011-2013 National Fire Incident Reporting System data. In addition, home fire injuries and fatalities are lower on Thanksgiving Day than on other days of the year:
16.9 injuries on Thanksgiving vs. 28.4 injuries on non-Thanksgiving days.
3.4 fatalities on Thanksgiving vs. 5.2 fatalities on non-Thanksgiving days.
Cooking is the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in homes. (Photo: iStock)
Cooking fires in residential buildings occur more often on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. Cooking was, by far, the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings at 72 percent, from 2011-2013. By comparison, cooking was the cause of 48 percent of residential building fires that occurred on all days of the year other than Thanksgiving. Heating, at 9 percent, was the next leading cause of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings.
(Source: U.S.Fire Administration)
Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur most frequently from noon to 3 p.m., when many people most likely were preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Fires then decline throughout the evening. This stands in contrast to the rest of the year, when residential building fires peak during “normal” dinnertime hours of 5 to 8 p.m.
The majority of Thanksgiving fires take place in single-family homes. (Photo: iStock)
The majority of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings take place in one- and two-family dwellings (65 percent) followed by multifamily dwellings (29 percent). Other dwellings account for the other 5.6 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires.
Most Thanksgiving fires are limited to the object or room of origin. (Photo: iStock)
In 74 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires in homes from 2011-2013, the fire was limited to the object of origin. An additional 12 percent of these fires were limited to the room of origin. The remaining 15 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires in homes extended beyond the room of origin. Annually, among all residential building fires, 56 percent are limited to the object of origin, an additional 20 percent are limited to the room of origin, and the remaining 25 percent extend beyond the room of origin.
Never attempt to carry a hot or burning pan to the sink. (Photo: iStock)
Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. Here are 20 Thanksgiving safety tips from the National Fire Prevention Association and the American Red Cross: