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Red Cross Urges People to Stay Safe Cooking this Holiday Season

Fire Safety
Thanksgiving is the peak day for kitchen fires, and most of those are caused by unattended cooking

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S.

Sacramento, CA – November 20, 2015 — The American Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year-one every eight minutes -- and most are home fires. Last year, the American Red Cross Gold Country Region responded to more than 800 local disasters the great majority home fires. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’re encouraging families to prevent kitchen fires by taking some basic safety measures.   

“Thanksgiving is the peak day for kitchen fires, and most of those are caused by unattended cooking,” said Lilly Wyatt, Regional Communications Director for the American Red Cross. “The good news is that home fires can be prevented by following some simple, safety tips.”

Tips to avoid cooking fires include:

·         Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.

·         Keep young children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.

·         Move items that can burn away from the stove such as dishtowels, bags and boxes.

·         Clean the stove and the area around it before turning on the heat.

·         Don’t leave food on the stove unattended.

·         Turn pot handles to the back of the stove to avoid spills.


If a pan catches fire, don’t move it. Slide a pan lid or cookie sheet on top of the pan to put out the fire. Turn off the heat. Keep the lid on the pan until it cools. Never try to stop a grease or oil fire with water – it will fuel the fire.


If something catches fire in the oven, keep the door closed. Call 9-1-1 so firefighters can make sure the fire didn’t spread to the walls. If a fire occurs in the microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave if you can. Don’t use it again until a repairman checks it.


If the kitchen catches fire, make sure everyone gets out and call 9-1-1 when outside. Once outside, stay out. Never go back inside a burning building. 

Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross has been working to reduce that number through its Home Fire Campaign, credited in its first year with saving 28 lives and protecting thousands of others by installing new smoke alarms in their homes.

We are holding a first of its kind canvassing event with the hefty goal of installing 1000 smoke alarms in 17 Sacramento neighborhoods on December 5th!

The Home Fire Campaign is a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Working with fire departments and community groups across the country, the Red Cross and its partners have installed more than 125,000 smoke alarms in homes across all 50 states.

The Red Cross also is asking every household in America to take the two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.