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Thanksgiving Safety Tips from the Monitoring Center

Health & Safety

Did you know that the
 number of fire alarms Guardian’s monitoring center receives goes up by almost 240 percent on Thanksgiving Day largely because of home cooking fires?

It’s no surprise; Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires according to the NFPA. Many of the alarms that come into Guardian’s monitoring center on Thanksgiving are false alarms and not full-fledged fires, but since most people don’t plan for a fire on Thanksgiving when their home is full of guests, they aren’t always ready to respond to the monitoring center’s outreach. 

Nobody wants to interrupt their Thanksgiving festivities with a home cooking fire or even just a smoke alarm sounding. We know that many Guardian customers experience this frustration every year so we have some tips for ways to prevent a fire or a smoky situation and how to deal with a smoke alarm that’s going off.

How to Prepare for a Fire Safe Thanksgiving

There are a couple of things to get together ahead of time if you’re hosting Thanksgiving and want to be ready in case of  accidental home cooking fires.

  1. Have your Guardian Password accessible in case your monitored smoke alarms are triggered.
  2. Clean any grease, dust, food particles from your oven/stove top.
  3. Program the phone number for Guardian’s Monitoring Center (800-364-3616) in your phone.
  4. Test your smoke detectors to ensure that they are in working order. For more information about testing your system, log in to
  5. Make sure you have a non-expired, properly inspected handheld fire extinguisher on hand. 

How to Prevent Home Cooking Fires

The number one factor in home cooking fires is leaving your cooking food unattended. While everyone wants to spend time with guests on Thanksgiving, it’s important not to leave cooking unattended. If possible, bring some of the socializing into the kitchen. Here are some other things to do to prevent unintentional home cooking fires.

  • Keep kids at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Make sure all towels, potholders, flammable utensils, and other items are kept away from the stove top. Beware of the fire risk of long sleeves, loose clothing or long hair.
  • Double check the burners when you turn a new one On or Off
  • Don’t drink while cooking so you can stay alert.
  • If cooking with grease, keep a lid nearby in case you need to smother a fire.  
  • Turn your pan handles inward so you are less likely to knock a pan off the stove.

How to Deal with a Smoke Alarm

Sometimes when you are cooking a big meal, you set off the smoke alarm, even if you’re being careful about prevention. When there’s not a real emergency like a home cooking fire, smoke detectors can be annoying and frustrating, especially if they keep going off. If you have a Guardian monitored smoke detector, there are more complications, because Guardian will call you every time the alarm goes off, and if we do not reach you directly, we will notify the fire department. Usually this is great because it helps you get help quickly during a real fire. If you’re having a bit of a smoke problem while cooking Thanksgiving dinner, however, this can add some complications.

You can temporarily silence your Guardian smoke detector by entering your code and selecting “Off” on your keypad. If there is still smoke in the area, however, it will sound again. Here are what Guardian employees do to help prevent their smoke detectors from going off while cooking.

“I always crack a window before I start cooking just in case, so the smoke has somewhere to go.”

Christina Trefelner, Quality Assurance Manager 

“If I’m cooking a meal like Thanksgiving, I keep a fan in the room closest to my smoke detector so I can pull it out immediately if needed”

Mary Lynn Moriarity, Communications Manager 

 If you can’t clear the smoke quickly enough, you can do a couple of things to temporarily disable the smoke detector. Just be sure that you reverse any of these when the issue has been resolved.

  • Use a smoke detector cover, which can often be found at hardware store or online.
  • If you have Guardian smoke detectors, put your system in Test Mode temporarily by calling 800-364-3616 or by following the steps on our Customer Care website.

If you do experience a fire or medical emergency on Thanksgiving, remember Guardian is here for you. You can always activate the fire or medical panic on your control panel and Guardian’s monitoring center will respond quickly. If you have any questions about how to activate your panic alarms, you can reach out to customer service at 1.800.PROTECT. Learn More About Monitored Fire Detection 

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