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Red Cross Hawaii Offers Safety Tips for the Holiday

The American Red Cross exists to provide compassionate care to those in need.

While people in Hawaii are finalizing plans for holiday events and travel, the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross has tips to help prevent accidents and emergencies.

“Following a few simple tips can help make the holiday season safe and enjoyable,” said Coralie Matayoshi, Chief Executive Officer of the Hawaii State Chapter.

Holiday Decorations and Parties

• Place Christmas trees at least three feet away from any heat sources and exits. Water the tree daily.

• Don’t overload electrical outlets and unplug holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.

• Keep candles away from combustible materials and in a place where children and pets can’t get to them.

• Pick a designated driver when attending a party and provide non-alcoholic beverage options if hosting a party.

• Keep children and pets away from the stove; turn pot handles in; and turn off burners if leaving the kitchen.

“We want folks to have a safe holiday season,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO, American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter. “We also have steps they can follow to avoid ruining their holiday with a cooking fire.”

The cooks should start by not wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Never leave cooking food unattended – stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If someone must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove. Other safety steps include:

• Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.

• Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.

• Keep anything that can catch fire - pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from the stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.

• Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.

• Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen.

• Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.

• Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

No matter where people are spending the holidays, downloading the American Red Cross First Aid App allows users to have information on what to do in emergencies when and where they need it. A variety of mobile apps are available at

“Taking a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED course is a great New Year’s resolution,” Ms. Matayoshi said. Information about courses and how to register is at

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at