Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and reflection - and caution in the kitchen. New figures from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that the risk of a home cooking fire is three to four times greater on Thanksgiving Day compared to a typical day of the year.
And the risk is real. Red Cross volunteers in Los Angeles responded to nearly 300 home fires across the whole of last year - meeting the needs of more than 1,800 people. Responses peaked over the Thanksgiving holiday - as unattended stoves and ovens triggered hazardous fire incidents.
Fortunately there is simple and effective action you can take to stay safe from the threat of fire - and keep calm amid the chaos of Thanksgiving. Follow these eight proven safety tips from the Red Cross:
When cooking a turkey or other items in the oven, check its progress regularly.
Keep an eye on what you fry - and never leave cooking food unattended! If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
Move items that can burn away from the stove. This includes dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains. And keep children and pets three feet away.
Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
When frying food, turn the burner off if you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil. Carefully remove the pan from the burner.
Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled and the fire is out.
Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on. Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to ensure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
Smoke alarms are also vital to help keep you and your loved ones safe from the threat of fire. And the Red Cross is here to help you with that - our regular Sound the Alarm events see volunteers provide and install fire alarms for free. Angelenos who need assistance can visit redcross.org/LAHomeFire or call 310-445-9914 to schedule an appointment for a free smoke alarm installation.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/LA or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA.