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How to stay safe and be jolly during the holiday season

(BPT) - While it's the season for festivities and numerous joyous activities, a lot of mishaps can happen during the holidays, from baking snafus and turkey fires to decor disasters and pet problems. Fortunately, some smart preparation and mindful steps will help keep you and loved ones safe and jolly throughout the season.

Prioritize cooking and baking safety

Food is the center of many holiday celebrations, and it's easy for holiday hosts to become overwhelmed while cooking and baking. In 2021, State Farm reported $142 million in total claim costs for grease fires and cooking-related fires. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, according to the National Fire Protection Association. No matter what you're whipping up, don't get distracted. Use clocks and alarms to your advantage and also ask for help so more than one person is watching foods and appliances when in use.

Prevent turkey fryer fires

Turkey is a mainstay of holiday celebrations and the centerpiece on many tables across the country as family and friends gather. Frying a turkey has become a popular method for cooking a bird, but no matter your culinary skill level, a lot can go wrong during the process. This year, State Farm has already paid out a total of $4 million for outdoor cooking fires and expects that number to rise as we approach the holiday season. Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey in oil, then turn it on. Always place fryers away from garages and trees and off decks. See here for more tips before frying.

Mind the glow of candles

It's hard to resist the ambiance that candles create during the holiday season. However, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 7,400 home fires last year that were started by candles. These fires cause $291 million in direct property damage annually. It's important to burn candles in short increments and in safe places, keeping them away from kids, pets and holiday decorations. What's more, make sure your home and renters insurance is up to date so if something happens, you have the peace of mind that you're financially protected.

Protect your pets

While family and friends flood your home for the holidays, the increased noise levels and new faces can cause anxiety for your pets. Discuss with guests how your pet prefers to be touched and separate your pet from crowds if a break is needed. Additionally, get pet medical insurance ahead of your gatherings as pets can become overwhelmed and aggressive, nipping, biting and scratching unexpectedly. Total cost of pet claims in 2021 was $161.7 million and the average cost per claim was $49,612, according to State Farm research. Protect yourself, your assets and your furry family member with Trupanion® pet insurance.

Understand electrical fire risks

Electrical distribution and lighting equipment was involved in nearly half (45%) of home tree fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Holiday decorations overall cause more than 770 house fires every year! To lower your risk and keep your family and home safe, make sure you don't leave lights on trees or on other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. They could short and start a fire. Plus, if you're planning to decorate outdoors, make sure that you use lights and decorations intended for outdoor use.

Update auto insurance and drive safe

Over the river and through the woods - many people take road trips during the holiday season to visit friends and family. If you're hitting the road, make sure you check the weather before heading out and take any necessary precautions to stay safe if inclement weather is expected. Pack essentials in the car should you get stuck so you can stay safe. Always mind speed limits and be aware of other people on the road. Plus, make sure your auto insurance is up to date and you have access to the roadside call number for help should you need it.

Be a good neighbor

The holidays should be a joyous time to reconnect with loved ones. If you're hosting for the holidays, respect noise levels in your community. Be courteous by shoveling the sidewalks for your neighbors. Lean on your trusted friends, neighbors, or a Neighborhood Watch member to watch your home if you're leaving for the holidays.

Visit the State Farm Newsroom to make sure you're set up for a joyous, safe holiday season.

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