When it comes to Thanksgiving, time spent with family and friends, and bellies full of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and a plethora of pies, most typically come to mind. What far fewer people know is that the November holiday lays claim to being the leading day of the year for U.S. home cooking fires.
In 2015, Thanksgiving had almost four times the average daily number of reported home structure fires caused by cooking with 1,760 incidents reported. That number reflects a 259% jump over the average number of fires per day. The day before Thanksgiving ranked as the second worst day for cooking fires with 75% more fires (860 incidents) than typically seen on an average day.
Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 170,200 home structure fires involving cooking equipment, which resulted in 510 civilian fire deaths, 5,470 civilian fire injuries, and $1.2 billion in direct property damage. Unattended cooking was, by far, the leading contributing factor in these fires and fire fatalities.
With so much going on around us, it’s important to keep these simple tips in mind when cooking, sautéing or baking:
Although frying turkeys at Thanksgiving have become a popular trend, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discourages turkey fryers because the hot oil used can often lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and the destruction of property. If you would like to enjoy fried turkey, the NFPA recommends that you turn to grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants.
Additional tips and resources can be found on NFPA’s Thanksgiving webpage. General cooking safety information including safety tip sheets, infographics, videos and more can be found on NFPA’s Cooking Fire Safety Central webpage. Enjoy time with your loved ones and delicious food this Thanksgiving, and take the necessary steps to be safe!
Halloween is fast approaching, and with it, the rush to find the perfect costume, that great pumpkin, and just the right decorations to cover your house. Hidden within all this fun and excitement are potential fire hazards, and NFPA wants to remind everyone about some simple Halloween safety tips to help avoid seasonal hazards.
During the years 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 840 home structure fires annually that began with decorations. These fires caused an average of 2 civilian deaths, 36 civilian injuries, and $11.4 million in direct property damage per year. Almost half (45%) of these fires were tied to decorations being too close to some type of heat source, such as a candle. A fire can start when candles are too close to decorations or when long, trailing costumes come into contact with candles.
To help others safely enjoy fall festivities, NFPA has created a Halloween safety video and a Halloween fire safety tip graphic that you can share with family and friends. The following tips can help ensure a harm-free holiday season:
Have a great Halloween!
Drones were once viewed as tech toys only purchased for the novelty of taking pictures and videos from new angles. The uses for drones, however, have changed and so too have perceptions about them.
In recent weeks, we have seen drones effectively employed during recovery efforts in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Drones can be used in disaster areas long before its safe for humans to get there. They work in tandem with helicopters flying overhead to give authorities a better sense of what they will need to prioritize in the rebuilding process. Companies are also using small UAS to survey devastated areas so they can strategize rebuilding efforts. For example, drones may capture images of infrastructure like railroads or roadways to determine how they can transport necessities and building supplies to the affected areas.
The concept behind small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) is simple, but their systems can be complex. They are generally comprised of four propellers attached to a body in the middle (a quadcopter). Typically, they carry a camera on-board, and can range in size from less than a pound to 60 pounds.
The topic of drones have spurred countless conversations and endless possibilities, typically tinged with elements of fear, regulatory considerations, privacy issues, hope, and innovation. NFPA is currently working on NFPA 2400 Standard for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) used for Public Safety Operations. The proposed standard will cover the minimum requirements for operation, deployment, and implementation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) for public safety operations.
Companies are also using drones to assess damage to their buildings and real estate in Texas. Helicopters may be unable to see structural problems from afar. Companies like AT&T can use drones to assess damages to cell towers early in the game so that cell service can be preserved or restored; and the oil and gas industries can use sUAS to determine if there has been any damage to refineries or storage facilities in the wake of natural disasters.
Drones not only give their human pilots an aerial view, but can also document history. Insurance companies are assessing home damage with drones by taking before and after photos of devastation. The pictures taken help companies know what the properties in the affected areas looked like before Harvey. High definition drone photographs save time, allow for immediate damage to be documented, and can speed up the overall number of claims that adjusters can handle. This information exchange expedites the insurance process, helps homeowners to tackle home repairs quickly, and move on with their lives.
Whether you are excited for what the future might hold for drones, or remain skeptical about the idea of a sUAS flying overhead, they certainly have shown that they can be beneficial in assessing damages to properties, especially during natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.