According to customer claim data from The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), home fires increase during the holiday season, often caused by cooking, electrical hazards and heat sources such as fireplaces and space heaters.

"The holidays are fun, but they can also be hectic," said Scott Humphrey, Second Vice President of Risk Control at Travelers. "It's easy to get distracted and make mistakes you wouldn't normally make. Staying focused on what you are doing in the kitchen and around the house can help reduce the risk of fires."

To help homeowners keep their families and property safe, Travelers recommends the following:

  • Clean up spilled or splattered grease and food residue. Built-up grease can catch fire in the oven or on the cooktop.
  • Keep your cooking area clean and free of combustible materials. Food wrappers, oven mitts and other items left on or near the stove can catch fire.
  • Never throw hot grease in the garbage. Let grease cool and dispose of it in a metal can.

Electrical hazards
  • Don't coil electrical cords or tuck them under a rug.
  • Don't overload outlets or link together too many light strands. Many packages list the recommended number of strands that can be safely connected.
  • Inspect lights and other electrical products before use for cracks, damaged sockets and loose or bare wires.

Heat sources
  • Keep the area around a hearth or space heater clear of debris, decorations and other combustible materials.
  • Have your chimney/fireplace cleaned by an experienced chimney sweep. Make sure the flue is open before lighting a fire.
  • Don't burn cardboard, wrapping paper, trash or tree branches in your fireplace, as these can all spark a fire in the chimney.

Travelers recommends contacting your insurance agent or carrier for a review of your insurance coverage and making a home inventory to document all of your belongings. This will be a valuable resource if a fire or other event results in a significant loss.

To learn more about fire safety, visit

About TravelersThe Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has approximately 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $27 billion in 2015. For more information, visit

View source version on

Copyright Business Wire 2010