The holidays are all about loved ones getting together and enjoying a delicious meal. Since cooking is the number one cause of home fires, the American Red Cross has steps people can follow to avoid a fire.
COOKING SAFETY Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while preparing the holiday meal. Never leave the stove unattended – if the cook must leave the kitchen even for a short time, they should turn off the stove. More cooking safety tips are:
• 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 at least three feet 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 any appliance that generates heat.
• If you are deep-frying a turkey, keep the fryer outside and away from buildings and other flammable materials. Don’t overfill the fryer with oil.
• Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
• Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your 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.
• Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside bedrooms. Test alarms each month and replace batteries every six months. If you need smoke alarms, make a request here.
TRAVEL SAFETY If plans include driving, travelers should check the weather along their route and plan travel around any storms that may be coming. Everyone should use their seatbelts 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, and use caution in work zones.
• Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
• Rotate drivers during long trips.
• Clean your headlights, tail lights, 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 weather.
• For more information, such as how to build an emergency preparedness kit, watch our Weather Red Report about holiday travel.
Download the American Red Cross First Aid App. The app provides users with quick, expert advice on what to do in case of emergencies including what to do if someone is choking. Find all the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.