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2021 Holiday Safety Tips: Have a Stress-Free Holiday Season with Your Loved Ones

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The holiday season is underway, and people across the globe are enjoying great food, gift-giving, and, most importantly, quality time with loved ones. Amid all the festivities between Halloween and New Years, safety concerns often end up on the back burner—which is exactly where they shouldn’t end up, given how common fires are this time of year.

In fact, according to the US Fire Administration department, an average of 2,300 residential fires were reported each year on Thanksgiving between 2017 and 2019. These fires resulted in damages worth $26 million, as well as an average of 15 injuries and 5 deaths.

With fatalities rising each year, it has become more critical than ever for homeowners to take stronger safety precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their properties over the holiday period. 

Fires are not the only risks to safety during Thanksgiving; burglary is another primary concern. Based on several incidents shared by AlfredCamera users, no matter how secure your home may seem, burglars are particularly vigilant during the holiday season, where valuables are easy to find in most homes.

Find out more about how you can make this holiday season as safe as it is fun.

6 Holiday Safety Tips to Consider

Not only do homes tend to have far more valuables within easy access during the holiday season, but many of these homes will be unoccupied for extended periods, as families head elsewhere to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

So while you’re planning for your holiday trips, consider the following tips from National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and American Red Cross.

  • Remove falling objects like ladders from the outside of your home. Home invaders can use these objects to access your home.
  • Avoid posting your Thanksgiving or Christmas travel plans on social media. 
  • Turn down your telephone ringer so no one will hear repeated calls outside. 
  • Arrange with your neighbor to pick up your mail while off, or otherwise arrange for deliveries to be made after you return.
  • Avoid leaving a key hidden outside of the home. Under the mat is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and burglars know the best hiding places.
  • Set up a 24-hour home monitoring and security system before traveling.

Home security systems don’t need to be pricey endeavors. Apps like AlfredCamera can help you keep an eye on your home whatever you’re doing during the Holidays. 

Whether it’s making sure your house isn’t being egged on Halloween or burgled on New Years, AlfredCamera acts as an extra pair of eyes and ears courtesy of your old smart device. 

Get notified when Alfred spots something out of the ordinary, and watch live footage from your linked device, wherever you happen to be this holiday season. Download now for iOS and Android devices.

Recommended Reading: Porch Pirates: 5 Ways To Stop It From Happening To You

9 Fire Safety Tips

Thanksgiving Day, according to the Fire Department, is the leading day for home-cooking fires, closely followed by Christmas. Of course, the holidays are a time for big meals we might rarely attempt any other time of the year. 

If you’re cooking this year, take some extra precautions to ensure your party doesn’t end up a statistic. 

Here are 9 fire safety tips that we recommend you to follow to ensure a safe holiday this year. 

Perhaps the most critical fire safety action you must take is to ensure you have a working fire extinguisher installed in the kitchen or anywhere else you will do the cooking. You should also teach your family the proper fire extinguisher handling method in case of a fire emergency.

  • Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher in place, and everyone knows how to use it.
  • Have working fire extinguishers ready for easy access and make sure family members know how to handle them properly (keep the kids away).
  • Exercise caution when using Turkey fryers and similar appliances at home. Turkey fryers are susceptible to fire hazards, and they pose serious burn risks to users.
  • Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing while cooking. Long and open clothing can ignite from a naked fire source, such as a gas flame or hot burner.  
  • Keep children, especially toddlers, away from all appliances in the kitchen while cooking. Experts recommend that kids should be at least 3 feet away from hot appliances. 
  • Be sure that the electric cords from your appliances are not dangling off the countertops or within reach of children. 
  • Keep matches and utility lighters inside locked cabinets or drawers, out of reach of children. 
  • Keep the floor clear of items that can cause an accident. These may include: toys, pocketbooks, bags, clothes, food, and papers.  
  • Make sure your home’s smoke alarms are working properly before you commence cooking. Though it’s easy to forget to check them, make it a habit to do so around the Holidays.

Recommended Reading: How To Hide A Key (And Keep Home Invaders In The Dark)

Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

Burglars, fires… What about food poisoning? 

With cooking such an integral part of the holiday season, these tips will help to ensure the safety of amateur chefs both big and small—not to mention, avoid the dreaded Thanksgiving food poisoning, and other health risks associated with improperly prepared food.

Get your aprons on!

  • Buy your meat and other food items carefully. You may want to avoid fresh, stuffed turkeys or other birds. If not, buy it no more than a day before cooking. 
  • Chop vegetables on a seperate board from raw meat. Cross-contaminating vegetables with bacteria from uncooked bird meat is a one-way ticket to salmonella poisoning!
  • Make sure you defrost the meat properly out of the freezer. Thaw inside the refrigerator, and keep in mind that every 5 lbs. of turkey will require a day or two to thaw completely. 
  • Wrap the meat in leak-proof packaging material and submerge it in cold water. You must change the water every half an hour. 
  • Cook the meat immediately after thawing and avoid slow or partial cooking. For turkey, cook at a minimum of 165 degrees fahrenheit.
  • You may want to cook the stuffing separately and use the thermometer to check the temperatures of the core of the meat. To do so, use the thickest part of the breast, thigh, and wings.

FAQ

What are holiday safety tips?

Aside from the safety tips listed in this article, it’s worth considering some adjacent concerns that can be significant in increasing your safety around the holidays—like watching your alcohol intake. 

Most of us like to enjoy a drink or two throughout the holidays, which is perfectly fine. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, after all! 

But, alcohol impairment is linked to various home hazards. One study suggests the effectiveness of smoke alarms in preventing fires is dramatically decreased when individuals were alcohol impaired. Stay safe by avoiding alcohol until dinner is done, and always drink responsibly.

How many fires burn down on Thanksgiving? 

An average of 2,300 residential fires are reported each year in the US on Thanksgiving day.

Is Thanksgiving the peak day for home cooking fires?

Yes. The NFPA goes as far to suggest that there’s almost three times the daily average number of cooking fires on Thanksgiving. This is closely followed by Christmas and Christmas Eve, where home fires are reportedly two times the daily average.

Are turkey fryers safe?

If you’ve bought your turkey fryer (or any cooking equipment for that matter) from a reputable store that stocks safety-approved products, then the fryer has been approved for use by the general public. With the right know-how and caution, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. 

That being said, various fire departments, including the Cosumnes Fire Department, consider turkey fryers as being particularly susceptible to tipping over, overheating, or spilling hot oil, which can then cause burns or fires. As such, keep children far away from them, and make sure that the person using it is experienced and responsible.

Why do turkey fryers explore?

Turkey fryers are a popular way of cooking birds in the south. Unlike cooking a bird in the oven, which can take hours, turkey fryers have the meat moist, juicy, and ready to serve in an hour. To achieve that, they require a large amount of oil that the bird has to be submerged in at very high temperatures. Understandably, this is a rather dangerous way of cooking anything.

If the bird is frozen, or still partially frozen, it can ‘explode’. The water causes the oil to expand rapidly and spill over onto the open flame. Aside from hygiene, this is another reason why it’s crucial to defrost meat before cooking; water and oil should never mix at high temperatures.

If you notice black smoke emerging from the oil, lower the temperature immediately. This is a sign that the oil is reaching its smoking point (in other words, it’s releasing evaporated particles into the air). Particles evaporated from oil are extremely flammable.

Conclusion

Good food, good people, good times. The holidays are a time to let down your hair and kick back with the ones you love. But by not taking simple precautions—whether that’s properly defrosting your food or setting up surveillance to monitor an absent home—you run the risk of some unplanned surprises.

That’s why planning is one of the essential safety precautions that will be of great benefit to everyone over the holiday period. Whether you are traveling for the occasion or having the in-laws over, make simple preparations not only for yourself, but also for your family, friends, and property, ultimately avoiding stress in the long run.