Dangerous distractions in Thanksgiving kitchens, State Farm warns

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Pay attention, please.

Thanksgiving can be a complicated, busy mix with lots of people, lots of noise, televisions blaring, football announcers shouting, couch potatoes cheering — along with kids running and old friends arriving and relatives (both welcome and otherwise) chatting and gossiping and just generally catching up while out of the corner of your eye, you handle the cooking.

Oh yes, the flames.

And whatever the rankings may be for the Dawgs or Falcons this troubled fall, you need to be careful, because the state of Georgia ranks a solid sixth in holiday cooking fires. That’s sixth-most fires, often resulting in injury or deaths.

How do we know this?

Well, as often happens when you take chances, the people with the sharpest eyes for risk are the ones most likely to end up paying the bills if you mess up and burn things down.

That is: Insurance companies.

They are the ones that know. The holiday is all about warmth and family and tradition and higher odds of something bad happening.

“There are a lot of distractions, we are often cooking multiple dishes at once, and the chance of a home fire is much higher,” said Justin Tomczak, spokesman for State Farm insurance.

Last year during November and December, State Farm received an average of 18 claims each day related to cooking fires, he said.

On Thanksgiving and Christmas day, that number nearly doubled.

Citing the National Fire Protection Association, he said that 43 percent of the more-than-1,000 home fires in America each day start in a kitchen.

All sorts of commonsense advice applies, of course. Have smoke detectors and a working fire extinguisher in the house, of course. (Also, please be careful which of your uncles you seat together at the dinner table, but that’s really a different sort of concern).

Anyhow, when it comes to safety, State Farm advises the most commonsensical principle of all: Pay attention.

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