Thanksgiving is all about food and family – turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and family time. However, preparing holiday goodies can lead to disaster - the kitchen is the setting of more fires than any other room in the house, and cooking is the leading cause of fires in the home. The Hawaii Red Cross has safety steps to use while preparing the Thanksgiving feast.
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. 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.
-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.
Another helpful step is to download the Red Cross First Aid app which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in someone’s hand. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know first aid. Download the free First Aid app today by texting "GETFIRST" to 90999 or searching "Red Cross First Aid" in the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace.
When a home fire or other disaster occurs, the Hawaii Red Cross assists with the immediate needs of those affected such as food, clothing, shelter and crisis counseling. People can support those in the local community affected by disasters like home fires by making a donation to the Hawaii Red Cross by going to redcross.org/hawaii or calling 808-739-8109. Those wishing to learn more about home fire safety should visit redcross.org.