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The Winter Holidays Shouldn’t Be a Hot Time


    Many people experience warm memories of gathering with friends and family during holidays.

    But for some, those memories are hot because they once suffered a fire in their Chicagoland home during that time. And unfortunately, they’re not alone.

    The winter holidays are sadly a time when many fires occur.

    According to the National Fire Protection Association, firefighters nationwide responded to about 1,400 fires on Thanksgiving in 2019. Other high-volume days for cooking fires are Christmas Day, the day before Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas Eve. In fact, cooking fires are the leading cause of holiday season fires. But there are other sources also. Let’s look at cooking and other common fire causes and how you can protect your family from them.

    Cooking Fires

    The reason more fires break out at holiday time is that so much cooking is going on then. According to the website Statista, “This year, approximately 81 percent of U.S. adults intend to have a home-cooked holiday dinner. The younger generations do not only plan to participate but increasingly make dinner themselves. Among Millennials, 88.9 percent intend to cook a holiday dinner, and so does most Generation Z.”

    Whenever more burners and ovens are being used, the odds of a fire will increase. So make sure of the following:

    • Never leave stoves unattended.
    • Keep children away from hot stoves and cooking fires. Their curiosity can hurt them and others.
    • Use food timers to keep food from overcooking and burning.
    • Keep all paper towels, dishtowels, oven mitts, and other flammable objects away from open flames and hot surfaces.

    If you’re considering deep-frying a turkey, the first thing fire experts will tell you is DON’T. There are so many dangers involved, it’s just not worth it. Any time there is a combination of open flames and oil, you have a recipe for disaster. But if you insist on doing so, follow these guidelines:

    • Do it outside ONLY on a flat, stable surface (not a wooden deck), and keep it away from your home, garage, other structures, and overhanging tree branches.
    • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and contains as little moisture as possible. Otherwise, the second it contacts hot oil it’ll explode, spewing boiling oil on everyone nearby.
    • Use a thermometer to keep an eye on the oil’s temperature and never overfill the fryer.
    • Have a fire extinguisher handy.

    Open Flames

    Candles are often used to create a little ambiance during the winter holidays in Chicago. But any open flames around a lot of people, especially kids, is asking for trouble. They’re usually very easily knocked over and will start burning almost anything they land on. If you do use them, put them in a sturdy candle holder and well away from flammable surfaces.

    To create a safer holiday atmosphere, use flameless LED candles. These look real without the risk of causing a fire.

    Electrical Fires

    Between lights, decorations, and cooking appliances, outlets and extension cords can be overloaded. Here are some electrical fire safety recommendations:

    • Regularly check all cords and replace older, frayed, and damaged ones.
    • Don’t plug too many items into electrical outlets and be sure to use surge protectors.
    • Unplug appliances and decorations before going to bed.

    Additional Fire Safety Measures

    The destructive and life-threatening nature of fires should encourage you to take as many safety precautions as possible. Here are a few more:

    • All Chicago area homes should have multiple smoke alarms installed. Make sure they’re working and regularly replace their batteries.
    • Have fire extinguishers installed in or near your kitchen and other locations throughout your home and garage. Train your family on their proper use.
    • In the event of a worst-case scenario, create an escape plan with your family so all can evacuate your home safely.

    If you follow these guidelines, you can keep your family safe from the most common causes of fires during the holidays. Safety should be uppermost on your mind during all activities.

    If the worst should occur and your home is fire-damaged, call the fire restoration professionals at Chicago’s ServiceMaster By Simons. Our experts will determine the extent of your fire damage, and then remove the smoke and soot from all surfaces. We’ll also professionally clean all restorable items to remove all traces of the fire to help you start building better memories.


    Choose a Trustworthy Company

    ServiceMaster By Simons is a reputable disaster restoration company you can rely on. We’ve been in business for many years and take great pride in serving the expansive Chicago metropolitan area and its surrounding suburbs. Our company stands as the preferred choice in Chicagoland for both commercial and residential disaster restoration services. Our expertise includes Fire Damage Restoration, Water Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation, and Smoke Odor Removal. With a team of highly skilled professionals who are certified by the IICRC, we’re equipped to handle insurance claims of any size. Call 773-376-1110 or contact us online.


    • Nasutsa Mabwa

      Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster by Simons, a MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2020 Daily Herald Business Ledger C-Suite awardee, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She is a Civic Federation Board Member, an Advisory Board Member for as President Elect on the Executive Committee for the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.

      About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons
      Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving both Cook and Lake County, Illinois. Recently, the company was awarded a variety of honors, including the SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau's Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and the recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including water and flood damage restoration, fire and smoke damage restoration, mold remediation, to residential and commercial customers in both Cook and Lake County IL.

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