FEMA: Prevent Fires This Thanksgiving

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USFA Press Office: (301) 447-1853

WASHINGTON - As our nation comes together to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its United States Fire Administration (USFA) would like to remind all residents to Put a Freeze on all Fires.

According to data from the USFA, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss each year. The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is cooking. In addition, these fires occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from noon to 4 p.m. And unfortunately, smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings.

“Disasters can happen any time, any where, but some emergencies at home can be avoided by taking a few simple steps for safety.”

"Disasters can happen any time, any where, but some emergencies at home can be avoided by taking a few simple steps for safety," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "And don't forget this holiday season, while gathered around the table with family and friends, is a great time to talk about your family emergency plan, and what you would do in the case of a disaster."

FEMA and USFA have issued a special report examining the characteristics of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings. The report, Thanksgiving Day Fires in Residential Buildings, was developed by USFA's National Fire Data Center and is further evidence of FEMA's commitment to sharing information with fire departments and first responders around the country to help them keep their communities safe during this holiday. Read the report (PDF, 738 Kb) for more information.

The USFA also suggests these safety cooking tips:

"Thanksgiving marks the start of a very busy time for all firefighters," said Acting Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines. "Holiday decorations, heating, and increased indoor cooking all present just some of the causes of residential fires. Your place of residence should be the safest place of all. Protect it with working smoke alarms and know what to do if a fire should occur."

Deep-fried turkey has quickly grown in popularity but safety experts are concerned that backyard chefs may be sacrificing fire safety for good taste. If you absolutely must use a turkey fryer, please use the following tips:

Read more fire safety tips for cooking this holiday season.


The United States Fire Administration recommends everyone should have a comprehensive fire protection plan that includes smoke alarms, residential sprinklers, and practicing a home fire escape plan.