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Blog by Erie Insurance

There’s no doubt that some of the best holiday indulgences (turkey! cookies! cake!) come out of an oven, not a gift-wrapped box. But along with the many good things that originate in the kitchen throughout the holiday season, there’s something else that’s all-too-common: fires.

The kitchen is the most common origin for home fires and fire injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Cooking is the leading cause. Burns are the third most likely cause of fatal home injuries, too, according to the Home Safety Council. (For kids, they’re the most likely cause of fatalities).

And now, for the kicker: November and (especially) December are two of the most common months for home fires to occur. But don’t throw in your spatula just yet.

“The good news is that you can prevent fires and injuries by taking simple precautions,” says Lorraine Carli, vice president of Public Affairs for the National Fire Protection Association. “Start by being aware of the risks.”


This holiday season, follow these no-nonsense tips for keeping you, your family, and your home safe.

  • Keep the kids away. Consider cordoning off the stove area with colored tape to teach little ones to steer clear of this danger zone.
  • Suit up. Roll up your sleeves and slip on long mitts. Loose clothing can catch fire while bare hands and arms are easily burned or scalded. Also, make sure to wear mitts when removing food from a microwave — things have a way of heating up more than you think.
  • Organize your stove top. Use the back burners and angle pot and pan handles toward the back of the range.This greatly reduces the chance of accidents that could lead to injury.
  • Put hot foods in their place. Position hot foods as far away from counter edges as possible. Anywhere else makes it easy for kids to topple dishes.
  • Skip the fancy linens. If you have young children, ditch the tablecloths and placemats. It only takes one tug to spill hot liquids and foods.
  • Set a (temperature) limit. Cap your tap water temperature at 120 degrees. “Faucet water that is too hot is a very overlooked source of scalds,” says Shannon McDaniel, spokesperson for the Home Safety Council. “It’s best to turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees. If your don’t have direct access to your hot water heater or don’t feel comfortable handling yourself, call your gas or electric company.”
  • Know what to do in case of an accident. Treat burns and scalds immediately. “Even a little bit of heat continues to burn the skin for 24 to 48 hours if it’s not properly treated,” says McDaniel. To cool a burn or a scald, run the affected area under cold water for at least three minutes. Don’t put any ice or lotion on the injury, and always call 911 if your condition is severe.

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