St. Thomas, V.I., (November 14, 2018) — Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and many Virgin Islanders will travel by ferry, car, and plane to share the holiday with loved ones. Because Thanksgiving is a peak time for travel and home cooking fires, the American Red Cross asks everyone to follow the steps below to help stay safe this holiday.
Each year, Thanksgiving is one of the leading days for home cooking fires. You can help protect yourself and your family from home fires 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 John Duck the Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Region. “Please prepare now with your loved ones to safely enjoy the holiday.”
1. 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.
2. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
3. While cooking, don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle.
4. 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.
5. If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
6. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
7. Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
8. 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.
9. Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
10. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
THE FLU AND YOUR TRAVEL PLANS
If public transportation is part of your travel plans, remember it’s flu season. From luggage to seats, everything that you touch has been touched by someone else. Follow these tips to help avoid the spread of germs.
1. Handle your own belongings.
2. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
3. Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes with you. You can use them to wash your hands or wipe down surfaces, such as armrests.
4. Bring your own pillows and blankets. They can act as a shield against the seat itself.
5. Avoid touching your face or eyes. If you must cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or your sleeve.