New York, NY — 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, 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.
STAY SAFE FROM COVID-19 The CDC recommends these lower risk activities:
- Avoid attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside our households. Instead, have a small dinner with family and perhaps a virtual dinner with friends and family who live outside the home.
- Still want to share favorite dishes with others? Prepare family recipes for nearby loved ones and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and deliver them without direct contact with others.
- Love to shop over the holiday? Avoid crowded stores and revert to online shopping.
COOK YOUR FEAST SAFELY Cooking is the top cause of home fires in the U.S. Most often, these emergencies are caused by unattended cooking — a common behavior shared by nearly 70% of us, according to a national Red Cross survey conducted earlier this year. Follow these tips to help stay safe:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 on fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- 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.
TWO MINUTES TO ESCAPE A FIRE Test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late.
Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).