Are you fired up for the holidays? Are you prepared to prevent fires?

Pumpkins, corn, and leaves on display in front of a wooden background with decorative lights

Whether you are excited or stressed about the coming holiday season, the best thing to be is prepared. Have a game plan for safe driving, cooking and decorating.

Most of us have had one too many holidays where the family has gathered together and the food was supposed to be ready at a certain time but isn’t, people are hungry or hangry after being stuck in traffic, alcohol is consumed on an empty stomach, a certain uncle starts to talk politics, a fun and festive occasion turns into a powder keg about to go off. You tell yourself never again. Then the smoke detector goes off and you don’t know if it’s the oven or the precariously perched decorative candles.

So, this year, are you going do things differently? Are you going to give yourself extra travel time to take into account holiday traffic and weather conditions so you aren’t white-knuckling it?

Are you going to leave the turkey out long enough on the counter to thaw? Trick question! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, its temperature becomes unsafe and bacteria* can grow rapidly. Safely thaw your turkey:

  • In the refrigerator in a container,
  • In a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water (change the water every 30 minutes),
  • or In the microwave, following the microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions

*Clostridium perfringens is the second most common bacterial cause of food poisoning. Outbreaks occur most often around the holidays in November and December, so follow the CDC’s guide for food prep and taking care of leftovers.

You don’t want to hear the smoke detector go off when you are cooking, but its worse when the smoke detector should go off and it doesn’t. With 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings each year resulting in deaths, injuries, and $21 million in property loss, follow the U.S. Fire Administration’s advice and make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are 10 years old or older.

Most people will start putting up holiday decorations and lights after Thanksgiving, so listen to the November 25th episode of the MEMIC Safety Experts podcast with Hartley Webb for tips on avoiding holiday fires. If you are shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday, listen to the end of the episode for our gift ideas to keep your loved ones safe. Sign up for podcast updates at and you could also win a pair of ice cleats!