Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and millions of people will soon take to the kitchen to share the holiday with loved ones. Each year, Thanksgiving is one of the leading days for home cooking fires. You can help protect yourself and your family from home fires—the nation’s most frequent disaster—by testing your smoke alarms and practicing your escape plan with free resources from the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign (redcross.org/homefires).
“Cooking fires can destroy a family’s Thanksgiving—and sadly, in some cases, their home,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the American Red Cross of Hawaii. “Please prepare now with your loved ones to safely enjoy the holiday.”
- Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year if your smoke alarm requires it.
- Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
- While cooking, don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle.
- If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended—stay in the kitchen. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires.
- 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 away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
- Keep anything that can catch fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains—away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
- Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
- Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
The American Red Cross First Aid App provides expert advice for common mishaps or emergencies including cuts, burns and what to do if someone is choking. Download the app for free in your app store or text GETFIRST to 90999.