The insurer has provided official tips for avoiding some of the most common “mishaps”.
This time of year is filled with food, gatherings, lights, candles, decorations, and unfortunately, holiday risks as well. State Farm has released a list of tips for its policyholders in the hopes of keeping those most common mishaps to a bare minimum or even avoid them altogether.
The first recommendations have to do with avoiding the most common causes of kitchen fires.
Some of the holiday risks that can be the most damaging or even deadly have to do with fires. These can happen in many different ways, all of which can be avoided. State Farm offered the following recommendations to homeowners.
- Cooking Fires – The insurer pointed out how easy it is to get distracted while baking or cooking, leaving homeowners open to the risk of grease fires and other cooking-related blazes. This is no small risk, as last year’s State Farm claim costs for those two issues totaled $142 million with an average claim reaching $56,800. Thanksgiving Day has the highest number of cooking fire claims, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve respectively.
- Fryer Fires – Also a cooking fire but worthy of a category of its own is fryer fires relating to cooking a turkey. It is vital to know what you’re doing when you want to deep fry a turkey. Simply immersing a turkey that isn’t entirely thawed into the oil can lead to a large, explosive, and astoundingly fast-moving blaze that places any people, pets or possessions nearby at serious risk.
- Candle and Tree Fires – Candles should never be left unattended and should only be burned in short increments to shrink their holiday risks. They should never be placed on trees or near pets, children or other holiday decorations. Last year, the average fire sparked by candles or Christmas trees, or holiday lights was higher than $50,000, an increase of 57% over the year before.
Holiday risks go well beyond fires, with liability claims also worth preventing.
- Pet Bites – Even typically calm and gentle pets such as cats and dogs can behave out of character during the holidays. Changes in environment due to decorations, smells, noise levels, and people can easily overwhelm a pet, causing unexpected and possibly never-before-seen aggression. Make sure pets have places to escape the crowds and feel safe on their own and never leave children and pets unattended together.
- Slippery Walkways – With friends and family coming to visit and cold weather fully underway, it’s important to make sure that walkways are kept clear and visible to minimize holiday risks. Remove any tripping hazards, don’t string wires across pathways, shovel snow, melt away ice, and install proper lighting since days are considerable shorter at this time of the year. Even if snow hasn’t arrived yet, make sure leaves are also cleared off walkways, as they can become very slippery after rain or frost.