FLOWOOD, Miss., Nov. 26, 2014—This year millions of people will travel to spend their Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones, many driving long distances. When they arrive, they will be in the kitchen preparing the holiday feast. The American Red Cross has tips people can follow to help ensure they arrive safely and some safety tips to help avoid a home fire.
Red Cross Mississippi Region Disaster Officer Robert Devaney says, “Cooking is the number one cause of home fires, so we want people to be especially mindful of safety in the kitchen.”
Last year, Mississippi Red Cross responded to more than 2,100 home fires, many of them caused from cooking mishaps. “This is also an ideal time to make sure your smoke alarms are working,” said Devaney.
TRAVEL SAFETY: If your plans include driving, check the weather along your route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming. Everyone should use seat belts and no one should drink and drive. Drivers should be well rested and alert and give full attention to the road – no cell phones. Other driving safety tips include:
• Follow the rules of the road – observe the speed limit.
• Use caution in work zones.
• Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers.
• Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
• Clean your headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows to help you see, especially at night.
• Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches.
COOKING SAFETY: Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while preparing the holiday meal. Never leave the stove unattended – if you must leave the kitchen even for a short time, turn off the stove. More cooking safety steps are:
• Check food regularly.
• Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
• Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
• 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.
• Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen.
• Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
People can also download the Red Cross First Aid App to have information at their fingertips if an emergency occurs. Find out more about all of the Red Cross apps at redcross.org/apps.