As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s a time to prepare the holiday feast and brush up on home fire safety. Plus, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities, planning your celebrations may be a little different this year.
“Home fires are a real threat over the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Guy Triano, Regional CEO for the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania. “Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and Thanksgiving is the peak day for these tragedies. We at the Red Cross are urging families to follow cooking safety steps to help prevent your holiday celebrations from going up in smoke.”
To help keep you and your loved ones safe this Thanksgiving, the American Red Cross offers these safety tips:
- 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.
- Celebrating with the people you live with is the safest choice. If you do celebrate with people who don’t live with you, gatherings and activities held outdoors are safer than indoor gatherings.
- Do not attend or host a holiday gathering if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
- If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s Domestic Travel or International Travel recommendations for unvaccinated people. Everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated, will still be required to wear a mask on public transportation.
You can also help keep your family safe by testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing 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 our free Emergency app and free Red Cross First Aid app for instant access on how to control bleeding, help someone who is choking and other scenarios. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores.
In addition, 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. If you’re planning to travel by car, prepare now for a safe trip by following these tips:
- 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.