Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, filled with food, friends and family (and football). But turkey day can also bring its share of risks and accidents.
Here are five tips on how to lower your chance of a Thanksgiving Day incident and avoid possible insurance claims.
1. Don’t leave your oven or stove unattended.
You may have a houseful of guests over for Thanksgiving dinner, but don’t let yourself get distracted while you’re cooking. Thanksgiving is the peak day of the year for home cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) – followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving.
If a fire starts on your stovetop, turn off the burner and quickly cover the pan or pot with a lid to smother the flames. You can also use a kitchen fire extinguisher to put it out. Don’t try to throw water or flour on the flames – this can cause a flare-up.
If a fire starts in your oven, turn off the oven and keep the oven door closed.
For all but the most minor flare-ups, it’s a good idea to call 911 and have everyone wait outside for firefighters to arrive.
2. Follow sound food safety principles.
Food poisoning is not the lasting Thanksgiving memory you want to leave your family and friends with. Wash your hands often as you cook and handle ingredients properly to protect your loved ones from foodborne illnesses.
Wash utensils and cutting boards that have touched raw meats, and never re-use meat marinades as sauces unless you boil them thoroughly first.
Use a reliable probe thermometer for your turkey. The U.S.D.A. recommends a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees for safety. A stuffed turkey will take longer to cook thoroughly than an unstuffed turkey.
Also, watch out for leftovers – get them into the fridge promptly to halt the growth of potentially dangerous bacteria.
3. Keep your pets and guests safe.
The joyful chaos of a bustling holiday home can be scary and stressful for pets. Set aside a space they can retreat to, such as a quiet guest room, and make sure they have enough food and water.
Even normally docile dogs can bite when they are anxious or frightened, and you can be held legally liable if a guest is injured in your home. Serious dog bites may require medical care and can even lead to lawsuits. You could wind up filing a homeowners claim for these costs.
Also, keep the Thanksgiving feast away from your pets. Fatty “people foods” are hard for animals to digest, and poultry bones can cause choking hazards. Also, certain desserts can contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets – dogs, for example, should never have chocolate.
If you believe your pet has eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local emergency pet clinic immediately. You can also call the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435.
4. Don’t announce travel plans on social media.
You never know who is seeing your social media posts. Announcing your upcoming travel plans, or the fact that you are currently out of town, is like an engraved invitation to a would-be thief.
Some burglars specifically use social media posts to target homes. If you want to post about your trip, no problem: Just do it after you’ve safely returned home.
If you’re gone for an extended period of time, be sure to set your burglar alarm, put lights on timers and arrange to have your mail and newspapers held. You can also let trustworthy neighbors know when you’re coming back so they can report any suspicious activity during your absence to the police.
5. Don’t drink and drive.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and celebration, and alcohol is often part of the festivities.
As a host, you may be held liable for alcohol-related mishaps that occur during and after your Thanksgiving gathering. Social host liability laws, which vary widely from state to state, allow the victim of a drunken driver to sue the host who served the alcohol.
Be a responsible host. Offer nonalcoholic beverages and stop serving alcohol toward the end of the gathering. Encourage your guests to pick a designated driver.
Impaired driving can end in accidents, tickets, fines, jail time or worse. When in doubt, call your guests a ride or invite them to stay over.
Give thanks safely
From kitchen fires to home break-ins, a variety of problems can occur while you’re celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends. Now is an excellent time to review your current auto and homeowners insurance policies with your JAISIN insurance advisor. Make sure you understand your coverage and are adequately protected from unexpected holiday mishaps.
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