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Red Cross Issues Safe Cooking Tips as Thanksgiving Approaches

Keep Your Family Safe During the Holiday

STATEWIDE (November 22, 2016) – Thanksgiving is only a few days away and it is a time when families gather with their loved ones to prepare holiday feasts in their households.  The American Red Cross in Maine has steps families can follow to have a safe holiday.

“Cooking is the number one cause of home fires,” said Justin Burkhardt, Spokesperson for the Red Cross in Maine. “Over the holiday, we want to ensure that families stay safe so we are offering some steps they can take in the kitchen to avoid a home fire.”

1. Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.
2. 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.
3. If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
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 3 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 in the kitchen 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. 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.

Over the course of a year, the Red Cross in Maine responds to more than 250 disasters, the vast majority of which are home fires. To combat this, the Red Cross launched a Home Fire Safety Campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent over five years in the United States.

Over the last two years, the Red Cross in Maine has installed more than 3,500 smoke alarms in homes throughout the state. Joining with fire departments and community groups throughout the state, the Red Cross trains volunteers about the program and then travels  into homes to install free smoke alarms, speak with residents about fire safety and help them to develop emergency escape plans.


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, like the American Red Cross of Maine on Facebook or visit us on Twitter at @ARC_Maine.