By Robert Haight III
Marshfield Fire Chief
Thanksgiving is a day for families to get together, celebrate, and give thanks, but it is also a day that these same families are more than twice as likely to have a fire in their homes. Based on statistics from the United States Fire Administration taken from 2011-2013, there will be an estimated 2,100 residential fires on Thanksgiving, resulting in 10 fire deaths and approximately $28 million in property loss.
Thanksgiving Day fires are most likely to occur between noon and 3 p.m. when most families are preparing their Thanksgiving Day meal as opposed to the 5 to 8 p.m. peak times for residential fires seen for the rest of the year. This assumption also seems very likely, since cooking fires account for 72 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires.
Seventy-six percent of Thanksgiving Day fires are confined to the object of origin, and another 12 percent are limited to the room of origin, statistically, resulting in $11,360 worth of damage as opposed to $15,790 worth of damage any other day of the year.
What can we learn from these statistics to make our Thanksgiving celebration a safe one? Cooking has become a very communal activity that can easily distract the people present from monitoring fire safety while the meal is cooking. While preparing our Thanksgiving feasts, we need to remain aware of kitchen fire safety, including having someone who will take it upon themselves to monitor cooking activities during the meal preparation.
Most of these fires are confined to the object of origin, which means the fire is confined to the pot or appliance in which the food is being cooked. Fires such as these are easy to put out if you have a fire extinguisher handy or simply have a cover ready to place over the pot containing the fire.
Please enjoy a very fire safe and happy Thanksgiving from all the members of the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department.