Between holiday travel, cooking and visiting with friends and family, it’s easy to forget about safety around Thanksgiving. With so many different things going on, however, safety is more important than ever around the holidays. Keep your home and family safe this Thanksgiving with these eight tips.
1. Check Your Smoke Alarms
On a holiday usually centered around enjoying a large meal with family and friends, you’re probably going to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s easy to get carried away in a conversation while potatoes boil on the stove or the turkey sitting in the fryer. This can lead to burnt food, or worse, a kitchen fire.
Keep your home safe before you fire up the oven by checking all of your smoke detectors and alarms. Test each device, even those not near the kitchen. Replace any batteries that are dead or alarms that are no longer working properly. A properly working smoke alarm can help you catch potential fire hazards before flames break out.
2. Reduce the Risk of Fire in the Kitchen
In addition to smoke alarms in working condition, there are a lot of things you can do to protect your home from fires by reducing your risk. Keep flammable objects away from your stove, oven or other hot surfaces. This includes wooden utensils, oven mitts or plastic packaging from food items. If you’re using a turkey fryer, be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
While candles can add a lot of ambiance to a table setting, they are also a huge fire hazard. If you light candles, make sure a responsible adult is always in the room where the candle is burning. You should be especially cautious if you’re using candles in a centerpiece with flowers, leaves or greenery. Consider lighting candles only for dinner and extinguishing them once the meal is over.
3. Keep a Fire Extinguisher on Hand
Even with fire precautions in place, you never know when a grease might splatter on a hot burner or a candle may be knocked over. Place a fire extinguisher in your kitchen to help fight fires if something ignites. Try to store the extinguisher in a place that’s easily accessible in the kitchen but away from potential fire hazards so you can safely access it if you need to. For example, a fire extinguisher in a cabinet next to the stove may not be accessible if the fire is on the stove.
You should also be aware of how to properly use the fire extinguisher. Read the safety labels and instructions before you begin preparing Thanksgiving dinner so you’re ready to act if a fire breaks out. Check the expiration date of your fire extinguisher so you’re sure it’s not expired. If the expiration date is coming up, jot down a note reminding you of the date so you can purchase a new extinguisher before the old one expires.
4. Install Smart Home Upgrades
Planning to travel for Thanksgiving? Make sure your home is safe before you leave town. The holiday season involves travel for many, giving burglars easy targets and many homes are empty for days at a time. One of the best ways to prevent theft is to install a security system in your home.
Consider a smart home alarm system that lets you monitor your home remotely from your phone. Many of these systems involve things like doorbell cameras or window and door sensors. This technology sends you a notification to an app on your phone. You can access your camera system or alert the proper authorities if you think your home is being burglarized. You may even be able to save money on your homeowners insurance by installing smart home safety upgrades. Ask your agent for details on potential homeowners insurance discounts for burglar alarms or other safety technology.
5. Lock the Doors Before You Leave
It might seem obvious, but you should double-check all doors and windows are locked before you leave for Thanksgiving. It’s easy to forget to close or lock a door or window as you rush to get the car packed for your trip.
For example, you open a window while cooking to help with airflow in the kitchen. When you’re done cooking, you closed the window but forgot to lock it. A burglar could start checking for open windows if the front door is locked. Before loading into the car, go through your home and physically check each external door or ground-floor window to make sure they’re locked.
6. Let Your Neighbors Know You’re Going Out of Town
Tell your trusted neighbors about your travel plans so they can keep an eye on your home while you’re away. If you are close with your neighbors, you may want to give them your spare key so they have access to your home in case of an emergency. You can even ask them to collect your mail or packages that arrive while you’re away. Burglars are much less likely to attempt to rob a home they think is occupied or being watched.
7. Keep Travel Plans Off of Social Media
Letting neighbors know you’ll be out of town is a good idea, but letting all of your virtual friends and connections know is not. Keep your travel plans off of social media and check your privacy settings to ensure you’re not sharing your plans with unwanted strangers. Share pictures and stories from your trip once you’ve returned home instead of during Thanksgiving to reduce your risk of a break-in.
8. Designate a Safe Play Area for Children
Many Thanksgiving gatherings have a number of children present. During this time, the kids are excited and are likely to get a little rowdy. Plan ahead for lots of activities to keep the children at your gathering focused and entertained. Simple crafts, such as paper hand turkeys, or board games can help keep children safe during the bustle of Thanksgiving meal prep.
Set up a safe space for the children of the group to play that’s away from hazards such as stairs, the kitchen or a fireplace. Make sure an adult or responsible teenager is keeping a watch on the children throughout the day to help keep everyone safe.