By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio. Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer.
Families across Northeast Ohio are preparing to see family and friends and celebrate the start of the holiday season around the dinner table. We’re dreaming of turkey, pumpkin pie and football. While this time of year is exciting, our homes do not always look like a Norman Rockwell painting. It tends to be chaotic. There are kids and pets running around, aunts and uncles from across the country trying to get your attention and people enticed by the aromas trying to steal a taste of turkey. All this chaos can be overwhelming and distracting, which is why each year Thanksgiving is one of the leading days for home cooking fires.
Here are from 10 tips from the American Red Cross to help you protect yourself and your family from home fires:
- 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.
Download the American Red Cross First Aid App. The app provides users with quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency.
As you continue to prepare for an enjoyable and festive holiday, here is a video on holiday cooking safety tips you can watch with your family and friends so that everyone, especially little ones, remains safe:
From everyone at the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, we wish you and yours a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!