Harrisburg, PA (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) – Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys, Department of Health Acting Secretary Dr. Debra L. Bogen, and State Fire Commissioner Thomas Cook urged Pennsylvanians to heed safety advice for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the average number of reported residential building fires on Thanksgiving Day is more than double the average number reported on any other day.

An average of 2,300 house fires occur nationwide on Thanksgiving, causing fatalities, injuries, and $26 million in property loss.

Many Thanksgiving home fires are due to deep-frying accidents. Fryers pose significant risks to personal safety and property when used without taking proper safety measures.

“Every year, cooking fires remain a persistent cause of home fires, peaking in their effect around the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Commissioner Cook.  “Turkey fryers and inattentive cooking are consistently listed as the leading causes of these fires, and the life changing result of a home fire is all the more tragic knowing that they are entirely avoidable.”

To avoid a Thanksgiving cooking catastrophe, follow these safety tips:

  • Have an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby; never use water to extinguish an oil fire
  • Keep children and pets away from all cooking surfaces
  • Use proper hand protection
  • Ensure full attention is dedicated to cooking

Fires are, unfortunately, not the only thing you need to worry about when preparing your Thanksgiving feast. Foodborne illnesses are also prominent during the holiday season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following tips to help prevent food poisoning or foodborne illness during the holidays:

  • Prevent juices from meat, chicken, turkey, and seafood from dripping or leaking onto other foods 
  • Cook foods thoroughly and use a food thermometer to ensure foods have been cooked to a safe internal temperature to kill germs
  • Do not eat raw dough or batter
  • Consistently wash your hands

For additional information on fire safety, including seasonal fire safety tips, you can visit the Office of the State Fire Commissioner’s website. For more information on foodborne diseases, visit the Department of Health’s website.