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What day of the year has the most home fires?

Home fires are the most common and most preventable disaster. Here in the Los Angeles region, we respond to 2 every single day--just over 500 a year. The number one cause of home fires is cooking--unattended cooking. Unfortunately, the #1 day of the year for most home fires is Thanksgiving. Holiday preparedness in general--really, really big on the Red Cross's agenda. We see a huge increase in home fires during the winter months--December and January--and actually, in terms of time of day, the dinner hours--between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.--is when we see the most home fires as well. Most home fire fatalities occur in the evening or in the early morning hours. We absolutely want you to have smoke detectors in your home. That is one of the best ways to make sure that your family is safe if a fire occurs; it will alert you and let you know. You want to have a smoke detector on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas, and, if your family sleeps with their doors closed, have a smoke detector inside the bedroom as well. The #1 cause of home fires is cooking unattended. On top of that, during the holiday season, we've got burned up Christmas trees, space heaters, a lot of stress--we're using nice scented candles. During the holiday season, be particularly aware that home fires increase, and you need to be a little bit more careful. In terms of your cooking, don't ever leave a stove unattended. You want to make sure that you maintain a safety space around the area where you're cooking--so no towels, no pot holders--nothing right near the flames that could cause a larger fire. You don't ever want to throw water on a fire. The first thing we want to do, for cooking safety--turn off the heat source. Then you want to smother the flames. There's lots of things that people used to do--put baking soda on it, spray it with a fire extinguisher. The best piece of advice is to turn off the heat source and smother the flame from the side using the lid of the pan. It's a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, just in case, but you should be trained on how to use a fire extinguisher before you do so. We know we have an increase of fires during the holiday season. Take a deep breath, spread the word, and make sure that your family is not leaving their stoves unattended, heating furnaces, space heaters, candles, burned out Christmas trees, all those things--be aware. Take deep breaths, release the stress, and make sure that this holiday season, you are keeping your family safe.

Hilary Anderson, MA, American Red Cross, shares advice on which day of the year has the most house fires occur in order to help you be cautious and prepare for an emergency


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Hilary Anderson, MA

American Red Cross

Hilary Anderson has been with the American Red Cross for the past three and a half years as a volunteer and staff member in positions with communications, disaster relief, development and volunteer services. As the Preparedness and Resiliency Manager, her primary responsibility is the delivery of educational programming across the Los Angeles region to get individuals, schools, businesses and organizations prepared for a disaster. As a dog owner, she also hopes to get your pets ready too! Hilary has a master’s degree in International Policy Studies with an emphasis in humanitarian assistance as well as a bachelor’s degree in International Relations, Journalism and German. She has worked for non-profits abroad in Israel, Bolivia and Germany focusing on grant writing, youth and education and also feeding and sheltering. 

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