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Red Cross Issues Safety Tips for Thanksgiving Holiday

PRINCETON, NJ, November 21, 2014 - Millions of people will travel to spend their Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones and the American Red Cross has steps they can follow to help make sure they have a safe trip. 

The holiday is also a time when cooks spend a lot of time in the kitchen and there are tips they can use to avoid a cooking fire while whipping up their Thanksgiving dinner.

“We want everyone to have a safe Thanksgiving holiday,” said Mathieu Nelessen, regional CEO, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “Cooking is a leading cause of home fires, so we are encouraging everyone to take steps to avoid a fire. For those who will be traveling to spend the holiday with loved ones, we also have safety information to help keep them safe during their travels.”

TRAVEL SAFETY If plans include driving, travelers should check the weather along their route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming. Everyone should use their seat belts and no one should drink and drive. Drivers should be well rested and alert and give their 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.

-- During long trips, rotate drivers. Make frequent stops.

-- 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, or if you are using your windshield wipers due to inclement weather.

COOKING SAFETY Cooks should avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while preparing the holiday meal. Never leave the stove unattended – if the cook has to leave the kitchen even for a short time, they should turn off the stove or designate another adult to supervise. More cooking safety steps are:

-- 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.

-- Check food regularly.

-- Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.

-- 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.

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

“People can also download the Red Cross First Aid App to have information at their fingertips if an emergency occurs,” said Nelessen. 

The Red Cross suite of free mobile apps, including the First Aid App, are available for iPhones and Android devices in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. They can also be found at

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      

About the American Red Cross North Jersey Region 

The American Red Cross North Jersey Region provides programs and services throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren, with a combined population of 5.7 million. The region trains and mobilizes more than 3,330 volunteers who support the delivery of services in the community. Last year, the Red Cross North Jersey Region responded to 494 local home fires, helping 1,130 displaced families; collected 25,420 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 1,877 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 60,441 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. Follow the North Jersey Region on Twitter @RedCrossNorthNJ.

Diane Concannon, 609-206-4043 (cell),
Erica Viviani, 973-309-3479 (cell),