LOS ANGELES, Nov. 21, 2019 — Thanksgiving is around the corner, and the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region offers tips to help you stay safe this holiday — which is a peak time for cooking fires and congested travel, but also a chance for families to talk about their preparedness plan while they are together.
When your family is gathered under one roof this Thanksgiving weekend, consider discussing your disaster preparedness and evacuation plans with your loved ones. If you have someone visiting from another state, consider asking them to be your out-of-state contact. After a disaster, everyone in your household should have the contact’s phone number to check in as safe, as local phone lines may be overloaded or out of service and it may be easier to text or call long distance.
“It’s important to include all members of your household when creating your family disaster plan,” said Jarrett Barrios, CEO of the Red Cross Los Angeles Region. “Talking about disaster preparedness can make it seem much less scary. Put together a family disaster kit, make a plan and practice it together.”
Free preparedness classes are available online and by request across Southern California as part of PrepareSoCal, an American Red Cross campaign designed to address the needs of individuals and families to prepare for disasters by providing tips, tools, and training, and to promote community resiliency with a focus on Southern California’s most vulnerable communities. More information on this campaign and available resources can be found at preparesocal.org.
Thanksgiving is the top day for home cooking fires in the U.S., where unattended cooking is the most common cause of kitchen fires. Follow the tips below, and test your smoke alarms and practice your escape plan until everyone in your household can get out in two minutes or less. Visit redcross.org/homefires for free resources.
- Keep an eye on what you fry. Stay in the kitchen and never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Clean and clear the area around the stove before turning on the heat.
- Move items that can burn away from the stove. These include towels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
- Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
- Fires can start when the heat is too high. 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 on fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- 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.
Bonus tip: Download the American Red Cross First Aid App and activate the Red Cross First Aid Skill for Alexa-enabled devices ahead of time and review how to treat burns and what to do if someone is choking.
Millions of people will take to the highways to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends — making it one of the busiest times for road traffic here in Los Angeles. If you’re planning to travel by car, prepare now for a safe visit.
- Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
- Pack an emergency preparedness kit, supplies and a first aid kit in your vehicle.
- Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
- Check the weather before departing and along your route. Plan for travel around any storms that may be coming.
- Be well rested and alert.
- Buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired.
- Follow the rules of the road and use caution in work zones.
- Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
- If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.
Bonus Tip: Download the Red Cross Emergency App for safety tips and customizable weather alerts for where you and your loved ones live and areas where you are traveling.
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 redcross.org/la or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA or @CruzRojaLA.