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Red Cross Issues Holiday Safety Tips: Preventing Home Fires and First Aid

The Red Cross urges safety this Thanksgiving as millions of families gather in their kitchens to prepare their holiday feasts.

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, the American Red Cross has tips for preventing home fires and holiday-related first aid.

Each year, the American Red Cross responds to nearly 66,000 disasters nationwide, more than 90 percent of which are home fires. In Central Florida alone, the Red Cross has responded to nearly 6,000 disasters in the 2017 to date, 92 percent of which were home fires. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, so the Red Cross urges safety this Thanksgiving as millions of families gather in their kitchens to prepare their holiday feasts.


1. Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, grilling or broiling food -- never leave it unattended. If you just leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

2. If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.

3. Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.

4. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.

5. Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.

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

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

8. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.

9. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off. 10. Smoke alarms save lives. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.


1. Cool superficial burns under cold running water then loosely cover with a sterile dressing. Do not use ice or ointments on fresh burns. Seek medical attention for severe burns.

2. A person is choking when they are unable to cough, speak or breathe. To help them, first tell someone call 9-1-1. Next, lean the person forward and give FIVE sharp back blows with the heal of your hand followed by FIVE quick upward abdominal thrusts until the object is dislodged.

3. If food is caught in your throat, never leave the room. Stay where others can see you and put your hands around your neck to signal that your airway is blocked.

4. Help avoid the flu by washing your hands frequently with soap and water. If you are feeling sick, cut down on handshakes and consider staying home to rest.


RED CROSS APPS People can learn how to help prevent a home fire and what to do if one occurs by downloading the Red Cross Emergency App. Children can have fun and learn how to prevent a home fire and other emergencies in the Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App. The First Aid App provides expert advice including what to do for burns, broken bones and breathing and cardiac emergencies. The apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or at WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO People can visit to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire, and to learn more about how to become a volunteer. The Red Cross has joined with fire departments and community groups nationwide to install smoke alarms in neighborhoods at greatest risk for home fires and engage youth in fire education and prevention efforts. The multi-year campaign aims to reduce home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent.

PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED First aid training is available through your American Red Cross. Available online, in person, and through our blended method which combines online work with hands-on skills sessions, Red Cross first aid training delivers the information and skills necessary to help both adults and children during many emergency situations. To learn more or find a class, visit

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, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.