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10 Tips to Minimize Thanksgiving Holiday Hazards, According to Mercury Insurance

Homeowners and drivers should take precautions to protect themselves, loved ones and property this holiday weekend
Thanksgiving should be focused on family, food and making memories – not recovering from a disaster.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (November 26, 2019) – Thanksgiving is a time family comes together to share a feast and their gratitude. However, for those who are playing host or traveling to be with loved ones, there are several items to check off the list to ensure the holiday goes off without a hitch. Mercury Insurance (NYSE:MCY) experts want to help policyholders enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving at home and on the road.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.

“Thanksgiving should be focused on family, food and making memories – not recovering from a disaster,” said Christopher O’Rourke, Mercury Insurance’s vice president of property claims. “It’s important for homeowners to pay attention to details like not leaving the stove unattended and, if they’re burning candles, keeping them away from anything flammable, and out of reach of children and pets. Taking a few simple steps to prevent holiday mishaps can make a world of difference for you and your loved ones.”

Here are five tips O’Rourke recommends to help ensure the dinner conversation is the only thing ablaze in your home:

  1. Don’t leave kitchen appliances unattended while in use. Reduce fire risks by keeping a watchful eye on the stovetop and oven to prevent food from burning or boiling over and potentially igniting a flame.
  2. Use caution when burning candles. Flameless candles are a safe, decorative alternative to wick-burning candles. Not only do they reduce fire danger, but they also last longer and are reusable.
  3. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Even the most careful cooks can have an accident, so be sure to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency and train your family on how to use it.
  4. Save the holiday photos for #throwbackthursday. Avoid posting travel plans on social media letting people know you will be out of town – burglars could see that as an opportunity to loot your house while you’re away.
  5. Ensure smoke alarms are in working order. An alarm should be placed in or near the kitchen, on each level of your home and in all bedrooms or sleeping areas. Check them twice a year by pushing the ‘test’ button and replace batteries annually.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Thanksgiving holiday – traditionally the start of the busy holiday travel season – sees an increase in crashes and fatalities. More than 50 million travelers take to the roads to journey to their destinations, leading to some of the busiest traffic of the year.

“Driving during the Thanksgiving holiday – whether just for the day or for an extended visit – can require some extra planning,” said Kevin Quinn, Mercury Insurance’s vice president of claims and customer experience. “Routine vehicle maintenance and safe driving practices are simple tasks that can help you and your family get to your Thanksgiving destination safely.”

Here are five tips Quinn recommends to drivers before they hit the road:

  1. Have your car inspected prior to a big trip. Checking the tires, wipers and fluids can help prevent unexpected breakdowns.
  2. Keep small or furry passengers safe while on your drive. Secure kids and pets in the back seat, and take planned breaks to allow them to stretch their legs. Make sure to pack items to keep them entertained, such as books, games and movies for kids, and toys for pets.
  3. Check driving conditions prior to leaving. November weather can be unpredictable, depending on where you’re traveling to, so be prepared for potential downpours or snow showers in the forecast and make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is properly stocked. If possible, avoid driving on the heaviest congestion days (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward).
  4. Take turns behind the wheel. If possible, rotate drivers routinely on long trips and make sure you stop to take breaks. If driving alone, plan to drive during the day when there is more visibility and less chance of falling asleep behind the wheel.
  5. Protect your packed belongings. Keep a watchful eye on your in-car valuables to prevent holiday thievery. Make sure at least one passenger stays near the vehicle on road trip breaks to prevent passersby from peering into the windows and scoping out the goods. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, remove all valuable items inside the car.

About Mercury Insurance

Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices. For more information visit or Facebook and follow the company on Twitter.


For further information: PCG – Brandy Patton (424) 903-3660 (

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