Thanksgiving is a day of great traditions—food, family, football. But here’s dark side of the day: Thanksgiving is also the single busiest day in the nation for home fires. With so many cooks in the kitchens and the growing desire to deep fry turkeys, unfortunately fighting fires has become one of the day’s common themes. That’s why the American Red Cross is urging everyone to take a few simple actions to stay safe during the holiday.
COOKING SAFETY – Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and related injuries. Follow these safety tips:
• Be sure to test all smoke alarms before cooking and clean all cooking surfaces to prevent grease buildup.
• Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the cooking area.
• Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn burners off if leaving the kitchen. Unattended food is the most common cause of kitchen fires.
• Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire.
• Place turkey fryers outside and away from the house, deck and garage.
TRAVEL SAFETY – Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel holidays. If you’re driving, make sure your vehicle is in good working order before heading out. Remember to:
• Pack emergency supplies: blankets, a flashlight, water, snacks and first aid kit. (The Red Cross has a variety of emergency supplies and first aid kits available at redcrossstore.org.)
• Fill the fuel tank, check air pressure in tires and top-off windshield fluid.
• Buckle up and obey all traffic signs.
• Avoid distractions while driving like using mobile phones to talk or text.
• Designate a driver who won’t be drinking whenever alcohol is served.
HEALTH SAFETY – With so much delicious food available, mixed with funny conversations, it’s easy to create a situation where choking is a possibility. Chew thoroughly and swallow your food before talking. If someone does choke during turkey dinner, follow these steps:
• Ask the person if they are able to breath and if you can help.
• If the person is unable to cough, speak or breath, have someone call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.
• Lean the person forward and give them five sharp back blows with the heel of your hand.
• If the obstruction isn’t dislodged, give the person five quick, upward abdominal thrusts.
• If alone while choking, perform abdominal thrusts on yourself by pressing your abdomen firmly against an object, such as the back of a chair.