Fire insurance claims spike on Thanksgiving Day. I became interested in this fact after viewing the following commercial by Allstate:
State Farm keeps track of everything at risk. In "Illinois 2nd in Thanksgiving Insurance Claims," a State Farm study reportedly confirms that more fires, for which claims are made, occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year:
A study by State Farm ranks Illinois second when it comes to insurance claims filed for cooking accidents on Thanksgiving.
According to the study, Texas ranks first and Ohio is third. The company said more cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.
Fire officials say deep frying a turkey is more dangerous than other types of cooking.
The most common mistakes include using too much oil, dropping a frozen turkey into hot oil and placing the fryer too close to structures.
I never thought of Thanksgiving as a day to be cautious, but, given the amount of cooking that occurs on that day, I can understand an increase in kitchen and cooking-related fires. A typical article, "Thanksgiving Top Day for Cooking Fires," confirms my impression:
Amidst all the Thanksgiving festivities it’s easy to get distracted–which is why Thanksgiving is the top day for cooking fires.
Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department’s Fire & Life Safety Public Educator Meredith Hawes says "You’ll see three times more fires on thanksgiving day then you’ll see on an average day and on Thanksgiving you’ll see 460 deaths related to home fire cooking."
State Farm Manager of Fire Claims says "My unit alone, I usually see one or two claims just from Thanksgiving day."
The leading factor in these Turkey day fires is leaving cooking appliances unattended which lead to dangerous grease fires.
Hawes says, "All these fires are largely human error–another issue related to stove top cooking is grease fires and so make sure you have lids handy..never put water on top of a grease fire…slide that lid over…and turn that heat source off."
Another cause of fires comes from the choice to deep fry your turkey, which is very risky.
Hawes says, "They tend to be very unstable and can tip over. If you can imagine several gallons of hot oil or grease spilling out, not only the fire risk but burn risk to people."
Hawes shares some tips as to how to deep fry your turkey without any mishaps. She says, "Be sure you’re cooking outdoors in a wide open space with a very flat surface and you don’t leave it unattended."
The State Farm press release on this topic provides some helpful tips when it comes to Thanksgiving Day cooking:
Most turkey fryer fires are preventable. Recognizing common mistakes is a critical step in reducing your risk of a fire or potentially fatal burns.
- Too much oil in the fryer pot – If the cooking pot is overfilled, the oil may spill out of the pot when the turkey is lowered in. Oil can hit the burner and cause a fire. Follow the owner’s manual to determine the proper amount of oil to use.
- Dropping a frozen or partially thawed turkey into oil – Frozen or partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover and may result in a fire. Make sure your turkey is properly thawed and slowly lower it into the pot to prevent oil from splashing.
- Fryer is too close to structures – More than one-third of fires involving a fryer start in a garage or patio. Cook outdoors and away from flammables; maintain a safe distance from any buildings and keep the fryer off any wooden structures.
- Oil and water don’t mix – When ice comes into contact with hot oil, the water vaporizes, causing steam bubbles to pop and spray hot oil. Do not use ice or water to cool down oil or extinguish an oil fire. Keep an extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fire nearby and immediately call 911 for help.
- Unattended cooking – Frying involves cooking with a combustible medium, namely the cooking oil or grease. Many frying units do not have thermostat controls and if left unwatched, the oil will continue to heat until the point of combustion.
It seems like the safest thing to do is help out the economy and leave the cooking to the professionals. Maybe eating out on Thanksgiving should be a mitigation credit which would reduce premiums?