Celebrating Thanksgiving is an event most people look forward to in November. Whether you are a host or a guest, be sure to plan for safety in addition to the menu and guest entertainment or travel planning. With the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the holiday, simple safety measures can be forgotten. Be sure to incorporate the following safety tips when planning your festivities to avoid fires, medical (guest food poisoning) and theft claims against your homeowners insurance.
- Purchase fire extinguishers, if needed, and replace batteries in smoke detectors.
- Clean kitchen surfaces regularly before and during cooking to prevent a grease fire. If a grease fire does start, turn off the burner. Do not use water to extinguish! Use your fire extinguisher or baking soda.
- Institute a kid-free zone in the kitchen, near the stove. With kids running around with cousins they haven’t seen all year, they could get excited and lose track of where it is safe to play. Notify your guests of the areas you have prepared for children to play and have them enforce the “kid-free” zones in the kitchen with their children.
- Keep cooking areas clear of flammable items.
- Check food regularly while cooking. It is easy to strike up a conversation with an Aunt you haven’t seen in a while, but don’t forget about the food! Also, do not leave the house with food cooking.
- If possible, purchase the turkey a couple days before Thanksgiving and thaw appropriately or freeze if the bird is purchased more than a couple days before the holiday.
- Thaw in the refrigerator. Depending on the size of the turkey, this could take a couple days. You need a minimum of one day for every 6 lbs. the bird weighs.
- Begin cooking the turkey immediately after thawing!
- Keep the cooking area clean including your hands, the preparation area and any utensils used to cook. Do not let the raw turkey (or any meat) come in contact with vegetables or other raw food.
- Store left- overs promptly, within two hours.
- Before leaving, survey your home for high trees that would provide easy access to windows for would be thieves and remove branches accordingly.
- Use a timer to control the lights of your home and be sure to schedule a lamp visible from the street to turn on at night. If possible, schedule a different lamp to turn on at different times.
- A small but effective action is to lower the ringer on your phone so that the unanswered rings are not heard from the street.
- Leave keys with a trusted neighbor and ask them to bring in any mail or packages so that there isn’t a build-up at the front door – a tell-tale sign for thieves of an unoccupied home.
- Do not post on a public online forum about your home’s vacancy.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to spend with family and friends, but don’t let safety fall to the wayside. No one wants to add “initiate claims process” on their post-Thanksgiving to-do list. If you have questions about the coverage your homeowners policy affords you, call Beckerman for clarification today.