Thanksgiving is almost here – a time when many people will travel to visit loved ones and households will prepare holiday feasts. Especially as our gatherings and locations may differ this year as we continue to recover from disasters, the American Red Cross has steps people can follow to have a safe holiday.
“Thanksgiving is one of the leading days nationally for home fires, and kitchen and cooking fires are the primary cause,” said Joshua Joachim, chief executive for the Louisiana Red Cross. “As well, Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday of the year. We want people to stay safe and enjoy their time with family by offering steps everyone can take to avoid a kitchen fire and reach their destinations safely.”
TOP TEN COOKING SAFETY TIPS
- Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.
- If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended – stay in the kitchen. If you just leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
- Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
- Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. 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 your 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 your kitchen. Contact your 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 your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
- If driving, check the weather along your route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming. Watch weather predictions for your entire route so you know what to expect along the way.
- Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Be well rested and alert.
- Follow the rules of the road.
- Use caution in work zones.
- Observe speed limits – driving too fast or too slow can increase your chance of being in a collision. Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
- Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
- Clean your headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows to help you see, especially at night.
- Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or if you are using your windshield wipers due to inclement weather. Don’t overdrive your headlights.
- If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.
More Home Fire Safety Tips
There are several actions families and individuals can take to increase their chances of surviving a fire:
- If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives.
- If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.
- Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
- Practice that plan. Make sure your family can escape in under two minutes.
Download the American Red Cross First Aid App. The app provides users with quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. See all the Red Cross apps at redcross.org/mobileapps.
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