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Be Fire Safe PA

Holiday Safety

As the holidays draw nearer, Pennsylvanians are focused on being in the kitchen and preparing delicious home-cooked meals for their guests.

Many Pennsylvanians plan to eat turkey over the holidays, especially on Thanksgiving. While a tasty alternative to the traditional oven-roasting method, turkey fryers can pose significant risks to personal safety and property.

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that nearly 2,400 house fires occur nationwide on Thanksgiving, causing numerous fatalities, injuries, and $19 million in property loss. Many of these home fires are due to deep-frying accidents.

Turkey fryer safety graphic 

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

Here are some tips to keep you, your guests, and your property safe:

  • Read the turkey fryer owner’s manual thoroughly for proper set up and safety tips.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before frying (hot oil and ice/water do not mix).
  • Use the correct amount of oil. Overfilled fryers increase the likelihood of oil spilling out of the pot and hitting the burner causing flames to engulf the entire unit.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Many fryer’s lack thermostats to prevent overheating.
  • Keep children and pets away from fryer.
  • Use proper hand protection. Lids and handles of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
  • Have an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish an oil fire.
  • Do not deep fry your turkey inside your garage, on your porch or deck, or inside your home.
  • Use your fryer outside, away from trees, walls, fences and other structures.

Learn more Thanksgiving safety information, and watch a video shows the dangers of turkey fryers, from the National Fire Protection Association.

Fire Safety Quick Facts

  • Smoking has been the leading cause of home fire deaths for decades
  • Cooking is the leading case of home fires and the second leading cause of home fire deaths
  • Three out of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes without a functional smoke alarm
  • Older adults are among the likeliest victims to die in home fires
  • Sprinklers have been shown to lower the fire death rate by 81 percent

Smoke Alarm Safety








Smoke alarms are widely available and affordable. However, there are some years that Pennsylvania leads the nation in fire-related deaths.

Smoke alarms save lives; it's just that simple.

At least one of these life-saving devices should be installed on each floor of your home. To reduce false alarms, a smoke alarm should be installed at least ten feet away from the kitchen.

Additionally, they should be tested monthly and batteries changed every six months. Learn more smoke alarm safety tips.

Home Escape Planning








Your entire family should be involved in making and practicing a home escape plan. It is important for all family members to be able to recognize two ways out of each room, such as windows and doors.

Choose an outside meeting place, like a neighbor's house, a street light or a mailbox.

Emergency numbers should be saved in cell phones or memorized. Alert the authorities once you are safely outside.

Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning building. Learn more about home fire escape planning.

Recovery After a House Fire

Image of rubble after house fire 






It is always important to listen to your local authorities following a major event like a house fire.

Never try to re-enter a fire-damaged home until it has been declared safe to do so.

Taking care of your family often starts with reaching out to your local disaster relief service. This may include organizations like the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. They can help you find food, clothing, shelter, and medical treatment.

If you have pets, they are likely scared. Handle them carefully and calmly. Try to leave your pets with a family member, friend, or veterinarian if you are visiting or cleaning your damaged home. Additional information about making special emergency preparations for your pets is available from the Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team.

Now is the time to contact your insurance company. Ask them what your next steps should be, and about the immediate needs of your home.