Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the season in which families spend quality time overeating, watching way too much football, and cooking up plenty of opportunities to catch the house on fire.
In all seriousness, many people don’t realize how many safety hazards and fire risks arise during their holiday celebrations. To help you survive Thanksgiving and your crazy family (we all have one!) with your roof still intact, we wanted to give you our Top 5 Holiday Safety Checklist.
Tip #1: Check your smoke alarm batteries
Smoke alarms are one of the most overlooked lines of defense in a household, but a regular smoke alarm check-up help prevent disasters. According to the National Fire Protection Authority (NFPA), nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths occurred in homes that did not have working smoke alarms. Check the batteries in all of your alarms by pressing the button on the front of the unit. If the unit makes a sharp noise, the batteries are still doing their job. While you’re at it, you should also check the date on the unit, which is usually listed on the back or near the battery backup on the inside. We recommend replacing any smoke alarms that are at least 10 years old. If the units are attached to a ceiling or wall, it shouldn’t take more than a gentle twist to remove and replace them. We know that this reminder gets repetitive with how often people are reminded to check their batteries, but it’s a very, very important, very simple safety measure to check off your list.
Tip #2: Make sure you have smoke alarms in each bedroom and on each floor
Every bedroom should contain a smoke alarm, especially if you sleep with the door shut or have guests who might. Even if you’re broke, you should be able to scrape together money for a pack of alarms that could literally save your life, like this one from Costco. The NFPA has a complete list of installation and maintenance tips for smoke alarms.
Tip #3: Install an anti-tip bracket on your oven.
Right now you’re thinking, “Anti-tip bracket? What the heck is that?” Well, it’s not something for the bar stool at your local pub (though it probably should be!). Anti-tip brackets prevent the stove from leaning over when you’re pulling out large items (like giant birds, for instance) or when small children might decide to use the oven door as a stepping stool to get up on the counter. As many people will be cooking a big turkey or getting their tofurkey on in the coming days, an anti-tip bracket could prevent a big mess, or worse, a grease fire. You can buy one of these metal brackets for no more than $10 or $15 at a local appliance or hardware store.
They’re generally easy to install, and they secure to the floor or wall and connect to the rear leg of the stove.
Tip #4: Make sure your hand rails are sturdy
Loose railings are a fall waiting to happen. Make sure all your hand rails are held tight to the wall so Grandma can get up and down the stairs with peace of mind and Timmy doesn’t knock over the bannisters when he’s rail-riding. Balusters should ideally be spaced no more than 4 inches apart to prevent any little heads from getting stuck between them. There’s not really a very easy work around for wide spacings, other than potentially fastening plexiglass to the railings. Either that, or have Grandma & Timmy wear helmets around the house. Kidding! (But railings are something for you and guests to be aware of.)
Tip #5: Know how to put out a grease fire
Many people don’t know the proper way to stop grease fires. First, and most importantly, you should never put water on a grease fire, and you should never try to move it outside — the fires just spread too easily. Instead, if something you’re cooking catches fire in a pan or a pot, put on and oven mitt and slide the metal cover back over the food to smother the fire. Immediately turn off the stove, but again, do not move the pot or pan until it has completely cooled. If you can’t control the fire and it begins spreading, evacuate everyone from the house immediately and call 9-1-1. Don’t try to treat any burns until you’re safely outside.
We hope you found the information exciting and entertaining. It’s always more fun to learn with a smile on your face :-). Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving with Grandma and lil’ Timmy.