How to Celebrate More Safely This Holiday

There were nearly 400,000 residential fires in America during 2019, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Many could have been prevented.

Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires, according to a NFPA report, and heating sources, like wood stoves and fireplaces, come in second place.

“About half of residential fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in your home,” said Dan Thompson, insurance agent and founder of Dan Thompson Agency in Raleigh. “We’re entering the holiday season and with home-cooked food as the centerpiece of celebrations, now is the time you need to be the most careful.”

The best way to save on home and fire insurance is not to have a fire in the first place.

Follow These Holiday Safety Tips:

  • Never leave food unattended while frying or grilling.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Never leave lit candles or a fireplace unattended and ensure they’re
    extinguished before bedtime. Set a reminder on your phone to blow
    them out before you go to bed!
  • Don’t douse a grease fire with water, as the fire can spread! Turn off the
    burner and smother the flames with a lid while using an oven mitt.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen and know how to use it.

The most dangerous days for candle fire injuries are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.

Before lighting your fireplace, make sure your damper is open. In addition to never leaving it unattended, use a protective screen in front of the fire to keep sparks from flying. Don’t be tempted to throw gift wrapping paper in your fireplace. It’s highly flammable!

Safety Measures to Prevent Residential Fires 

Smoke alarms 

Another important tip is to check your smoke alarms and change the batteries every 6 months, and using daylight savings time is a great way to remember when to change them. If you forgot when we turned the clocks back recently, now is time to do so! Smoke alarms are only effective if they have working batteries in them.

A smoke alarm is an inexpensive way to protect your family from a residential fire and smoke and could give your family critical, extra time to escape in case of a serious incident.


Smoke Detector

Carbon monoxide alarms fire extinguisher

If your home has at least one fuel-burning appliance or heater, you should have a carbon monoxide alarm. This alarm should be installed in the main bedroom or in the hallway outside of the sleeping area. If your carbon monoxide alarm has replaceable batteries, they should be changed at least every 6 months, the same as your smoke alarm.

Fire extinguishers

Don’t forget to inspect your fire extinguisher for any signs of corrosion, missing pull-pins, or changes in the pressure gauge. Make sure you have a working one on hand, especially during the holidays.

Holiday Decorations Can Be a Fire Threat

Although holiday cooking poses the greatest threat, Christmas trees and decorations are another common cause of fire during the winter months. Whether you have a real or artificial tree, you’re still covering it in lights and other flammable materials like tinsel and garland. A dry tree can burn faster than a newspaper, engulfing your home in flames within minutes! Always make sure that the lights and decorations on the tree are turned off when you leave the house or go to bed.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips:

  • Place your tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source
  • Do not use real candles to light your tree
  • Replace older tree lights with newer LED lights as they don’t get as hot
  • Make sure your string lights don’t have loose connections, cracked lamps, or frayed cords
  • Don’t use multiple extension cords that are too long and can get tangled
  • Choose the freshest tree possible and keep the stand filled with water

Protect Your Home During the Holidays and Beyond

Whether you are facing a kitchen fire or a wildfire at your home, you need to make sure your residence and important belongings are protected. If a home is completely destroyed by fire, most standard policies that cover fire also cover the cost of additional living expenses (ALE), such as hotel stays, rentals, or food and restaurant bills.

Your homeowners insurance will help you replace what was destroyed and rebuild your home. But it’s very important to keep your policy up-to-date and have adequate coverage if you want to be fully protected.

You have a number of choices when it comes to insuring your home and your belongings. When you select your policy, you’ll also need to decide between actual cash value vs. replacement value.

  1. Actual cash value (or fair value) pays to replace your home or possessions, minus a deduction for depreciation, up to the limit of your policy.
  2. Replacement cost pays the true cost of replacing your home or possessions (no deduction for depreciation) up to the limit of your policy.

Most homeowner’s policies offer actual cash value protection, as replacement cost coverage typically costs more. Make sure to discuss these options with your agent.

“There is no single amount that fits every family so get coverage based on the value of your home and its contents,” said Thompson. “And, base your deductibles on what you can afford to pay out-of-pocket should you suffer a loss.”

How much you pay for your homeowner’s insurance policy will depend on the different options you select. Ask your agent to walk you through all the types of insurance and put together tailored coverage that will protect one of your most valuable assets—your home.

If you have any questions regarding your coverage, a licensed agent from Dan Thompson Agency can explain all the options to best protect your home during this holiday season and beyond.

Call us at (919) 944-4201.