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Red Cross Reminds Community How to Have a Safe Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for celebration and stopping to think about what we are grateful for,

Thanksgiving is about food and family, but with the concerns over safely preparing the holiday feast or traveling to visit loved ones, it can be stressful too. The American Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region offers tips to ensure everyone has a safe holiday week.

“Thanksgiving is a time for celebration and stopping to think about what we are grateful for,” said Cindy Erickson, CEO of the American Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region. “These safety tips will help everyone focus on what matters this season, and avoid a serious home fire or travel dangers.”

Turkey Tips and Cooking Cares from Your American Red Cross

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries. These fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in your home.


  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • If you are simmering, baking, boiling, or roasting, check it regularly and use a timer to remind yourself when it’s done
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire away from the stove or heat-generating appliances.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  • Keep fire in your fireplace by using glass or metal screens large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Smoke alarms save lives. It is recommended that smoke alarms are tested once a month and the batteries are replaced once a year.
  • Tips:

  • Thawing a frozen turkey should be done in the fridge, cold water or in a microwave oven to keep foodborne bacteria from multiplying.
  • Rule of thumb for thawing: 24 hours for every four to five pounds of turkey
  • For optimal safety and uniform doneness cook the stuffing outside the turkey.
  • The turkey and the stuffing should be at a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • When the turkey is removed from the oven let it stand for twenty minutes.
  • See links below for more information.
  • More safety tips to follow to ensure a safe Thanksgiving in the kitchen:

  • 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.
  • Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
  • Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
  • Another helpful step is to download the Red Cross First Aid app which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in someone’s hand. The app is free and available for iPhone and Android users; search the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

    House fires are the worst disaster threat to families in the United States. To learn how to prevent a fire in the home and how to keep members of the household safe, people can download the Red Cross Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist.

    ON THE ROAD Most holiday travelers get to where they are going by car. To arrive safely, the Red Cross recommends these safety steps for travelers who will drive to visit their loved ones this Thanksgiving:

  • Make sure the vehicle is in good working order.
  • Start out with a full tank of gas, check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full.
  • Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. Designate a driver who won’t drink.
  • Be well rested and alert.
  • Use caution in work zones.
  • Give one’s full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Observe speed limits – driving too fast or too slow can increase the chance of being in a collision.
  • Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If the driver is tired, stop and get some rest
  • Be respectful of other motorists and follow the rules of the road.
  • Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
  • Clean the vehicle’s headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows.
  • Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or if using windshield wipers due to inclement weather.
  • Don’t overdrive the headlights.
  • If car trouble develops, pull off the road as far as possible.
  • It’s also recommended to keep an emergency preparedness kit in the vehicle. Useful items include water, snacks, a flashlight, first aid kit, extra cash and blankets. Red Cross Emergency Preparedness kits are available in the Red Cross Store.

    TRAINS, PLANES, BUSES For people traveling by air, bus or train, the Red Cross reminds them that the seasonal flu can occur as early as October. If people have come in contact with someone who is sick, perhaps the trip should be postponed as they may be contagious for a week before symptoms appear.

    Other safety tips to avoid the flu while traveling include the following:

  • Remember that everything someone touches has to be touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc. Handle one’s own belongings as much as possible. Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes and use them to wash hands or wipe down surfaces such as armrests.
  • Bring one’s own pillows and blankets – they can act as a shield against the seat itself.
  • If someone has to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or sleeve.
  • Avoid touching the face or eyes.
  • For more information on how to remain safe while traveling this Thanksgiving, visit the Red Cross web site.

    The Red Cross is part of the “All Ready” campaign, a unified effort among emergency preparedness experts in the bi-state region that focuses on the importance of individual preparedness. The campaign encourages the three critical steps of preparedness: Make a plan, Get a kit, Be informed.

    The American Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region is a proud member agency of the United Way, which makes significant investments every year in Red Cross services.

    About the American Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region:

    Celebrating 95 years of dedicated service in the region, the American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies. Thousands of volunteers and generous donors provide community support services including disaster relief, preparedness efforts, training in lifesaving skills, service to military families and blood services. The Greater St. Louis Region covers St. Louis City, and 72 surrounding counties in Missouri and Illinois. All disaster relief services are free. To learn more about the Red Cross and how you can help, contact your local Red Cross by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (733-2767) or visit