By Andy Klein
Families across the country are preparing plans for Thanksgiving Day celebrations. It can be a wonderful time. But it’s important to remember that safety should remain a top priority.
Thanksgiving is a peak day for home accidents and cooking fires. According to the US Fire Administration/FEMA, from 2014-2016 an estimated 2,400 residential building fires were reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day. Additionally, more than 36,000 people in the U.S. were treated for injuries at the emergency room on Thanksgiving Day in 2016.
PLEASE MAKE SAFETY A PRIORITY, THIS THANKSGIVING
The way we celebrate Thanksgiving this year may be a little different due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But what hasn’t changed is the need to stay safe from cooking fires and kitchen accidents, which typically peak on this holiday.
To help you and your family stay safe, the American Red Cross offers these cooking safety tips and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help protect everyone’s health during Thanksgiving.
Start by buying an “ABC” rated fire extinguisher or ensuring the one you have is fully charged. An extinguisher with an ABC rating is suitable for use with fires involving ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids and energized electrical equipment. Keep it within easy reach in the kitchen.
1. Keep an eye on what you fry! Never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
2. Move items that can burn away from the stove. This includes dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains. Also keep children and pets at least three feet away.
3. Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or a small child pulls them over.
7. Keep all knives, candles, hot liquids, toxic chemicals (e.g. cleaning supplies), electric cords, open stoves, and cooktop burners out of the reach of curious children…best if they are kept a good distance from any of these hazards.
8. 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
You can also help keep your family safe by testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your two-minute home fire escape drill. For more information, visit redcross.org/fire and download our free Red Cross Emergency App (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).