Thanksgiving Safety: Preventing Water Damage and Fire Damage
Thanksgiving is about celebrating what we have and sharing time with family and friends. And, of course, it’s also about the food. From turkey to pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving ranks as one of the most delicious holidays. Unfortunately, all that food preparation can also lead to water damage and fire damage.
Whether you have family in from out of town or just in for the day, there are more people using your toilets, showers, and sinks. That means using your sink drain and garbage disposal much more too, which could easily lead to a clog or even sewage backup. The average family does more cooking on Thanksgiving day than any other day of the year. All that cooking increases the risk of a fire.
Prevent both water damage and fire damage this Thanksgiving by reviewing our water and fire damage prevention guide. From cleaning beforehand to taking precautions while you cook your delicious bird, we’ll help ensure you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
14 Ways to Prevent Water Damage During Thanksgiving
The average family uses more water and flushed more food down their drains on Thanksgiving than any other day. While your garbage disposal and drains can handle many things, Thanksgiving is not the day you want to push them to the limit. A clogged drain or sewage line is liking to cause a sewage backup that definitely does not pair well with a plate full of turkey and mashed potatoes. Limit the risk of water damage and keep your drains flowing smoothly with these easy Thanksgiving safety precautions.
- Clean all of your drains with baking soda and vinegar the week before Thanksgiving to keep them flowing. All them to sit for at least an hour or even overnight. Then flush them with boiling water.
- If you’ll be hosting guests, consider adding a hair catcher to prevent hair from clogging shower drains.
- Ask guests to stagger when they shower. This allows water to completely drain in between uses and helps to prevent clogged drains and backups.
- Snake your toilet. Whether you’ll be hosting guests for the afternoon or for a few days, snaking your toilet will keep things flowing properly and prevent a toilet backup or overflow.
- Keep a garbage can in the bathroom for hygiene products, paper towels, diapers, or any other solid item. The only item that should get flushed is waste and toilet paper.
- Skip the flushable wipes. While they are extremely popular, they really aren’t safe to flush.
- Treat your garbage disposal right. Put potato peels, carrot peels, onion peels, and any other food item larger than the size of a pea in the trash, even if you have a garbage disposal.
- Never pour grease, fats, or oils down the drain. They can easily clog drain pipes and cause to a sink backup.
- The same goes for starches. Potatoes, flour, pasta, and rice are likely to clump up and cause clog your kitchen sink.
- And the same goes for fibrous foods. Celery stalks, pumpkin, squash, and other stringy or fibrous foods will get wrapped around your garbage disposal blades and could stop up your sink.
- And coffee grounds too. They are too gritty and can mix with starches and fats to clog sewer lines and even cause a sewage backup.
- Rinse dishes thoroughly before loading the dishwasher. This will prevent the drain from getting clogged, which could lead to a dishwasher flood or backup.
- Soak pots and pans in hot, soapy water. Hot, soapy water will help dissolve food particles and oils, helping them flow down your sink drains.
- If you’re hand washing dishes, wash them in batches and run plenty of hot water down the drain in between each batch. Don’t be afraid to do another baking soda and vinegar rinse too.
12 Ways to Prevent Fire Damage During Thanksgiving
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the peak day for home cooking fires nationwide is Thanksgiving, followed directly by the day before Thanksgiving. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day also have a higher than average instances of home cooking fires. Fire departments responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving day in 2015. Home cooking equipment like ovens and rangers account for nearly half of all home fires and home fire-related injuries. Take these steps to prevent smoke damage and fire damage while cooking your Thanksgiving dinner.
- Test your smoke detectors. Use the test button on every smoke detector in your home to ensure they work properly. Replace the battery if the unit does not go off.
- Check your fire extinguishes. Always use an ABC fire extinguisher that is rated for all types of fires. Make sure the unit has not expired and review the operating instructions. Make sure a fire extinguisher is within reach at all times while cooking.
- Never block exits to your home. This ensures that your family and guests can safely and quickly leave the premise in the event of a fire.
- Clean your oven the week before Thanksgiving. Whether you have an electric or gas oven, removing excess dirt and grease will prevent a fire. If you have a self-cleaning cycle, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. To clean it by hand, pour a half a cup of ammonia in a glass or mug and allow it to sit overnight. Then dump the ammonia and wipe down your oven with a hot, soapy rag. Use a clean rag and warm water to wipe away the soap.
- Clean your cooktop too. Whether you have a gas or electric range, clean it thoroughly to remove grease, dirt, and debris that could cause a fire. Use hot, soapy water to remove surface stains. For tough stains, cover with a towel or rag, then pour boiling water over it and allow to sit for a few minutes. Then wipe clean with a hot, soapy rag.
- Clean your fireplace and review fireplace safety too. Make sure you never leave a fireplace unattended.
- Never leave cooking food unattended. Whether it’s in the microwave or oven or on the stove top, avoid leaving food unattended to prevent a fire. Also, keep children and pets away from the kitchen for their own safety.
- Watch your candles. Use heavy candlesticks that are harder to knock over and use shorter candles. While candles are traditional on tables during dinner, keep them away from the flow of food and out of reach of children. Alternatively, use LED lights instead of candles. They are inexpensive, reusable, and will never start a fire.
- Use LED lights for luminaries. Many neighborhoods have begun lining streets or driveways with luminaries, often candles in paper bags or plastic milk jugs. While they look great, they could easily start a fire. Instead of candles, LED lights are much safer. They also never burn out, which will keep the ambiance going all day.
- If you are frying your turkey, take turkey frying safety precautions to prevent a fire. Never attempt to fry it indoors and keep your frying rig away from your home, garage, and other structures.
- In the event of a grease fire, never try to extinguish it with water. Instead, clamp a heavy lid on top to limit the flames, then grab for your fire extinguisher. Have someone else call 911 immediately just in case it gets out of control.
- Turn off all heat sources before sitting down to dinner. While you may be trying to keep food warm, it’s too easy to forget about them. Plus, food will remain hot for at least an hour as long as the oven doors remain closed or the lid is left on the pot.
What To Do If You Have a Thanksgiving Fire
In the event of a fire on Thanksgiving, make sure you know what to do to keep your family and guests same and limit fire and smoke damage. While a fire can be a stressful event, try to remain calm and focus on being safe.
- Call 911: Always call 911 immediately, even if you have a fire extinguisher. A fire can get out of control in seconds, so calling the fire department quickly ensures you have professional help if you need it.
- Evacuate: The sooner you evacuate, the safer everyone will be. Even if you think you have the fire under control, its best to get friends and family to safety. Have an adult or an older child supervise young children and help elderly guests get out safely.
- Use Your Fire Extinguisher: If possible, use your fire extinguisher to slow the fire’s progress while guests evacuate. There is no need to be a superhero, focus on keeping yourself and your family safe. The goal should always be to get your friends and family out safely.
What to do if you Have Water Damage or Fire Damage on Thanksgiving
Water and fires can cause a significant amount of damage to your home. Water can damage flooring, walls, cabinets, and ceilings within hours. Because it’s highly acidic, soot damage can leave permanent stains in the same amount of time. Let us give you peace of mind in an emergency.
As the #1 network for restoration professionals, we have water damage and fire damage restoration professionals near you. They are trained in the proper procedures to clean and restore your home or business after a water event or a fire. After an initial assessment, they are prepared to begin the cleanup and restoration process immediately.
These restoration crews also clean and deodorize affected areas to remove odors and prevent mold. We can restore and refinish woodwork and cabinets. If necessary, we will hang new drywall and install new cabinets in order to restore your home or business to its original condition.
Find a restoration company near you now or call 1-888-443-3110 to schedule a free, no-obligation estimate for fire damage or water damage restoration. We don’t just restore your home or business, we restore your life.