SPRINGFIELD Mo. — As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s time to prepare the holiday feast and brush up on home fire safety and prevention with your household. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires in the U.S., and the American Red Cross in Southern Missouri urges everyone to never leave cooking food unattended — which is the most common cause of kitchen fires.
Ten Thanksgiving Safety Tips:
- Keep an eye on what you fry. Stay in the kitchen and never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Clean and clear the area around the stove before turning on the heat.
- Move items that can burn away from the stove. These include towels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
- Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
- Fires can start when the heat is too high. 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.
- 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.
The Red Cross also advises people to test smoke alarms and practice a home fire escape plan until everyone in the household can get out in two minutes or less. Visit redcross.org/homefires for more information and free resources, or download the free Red Cross Emergency App (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).
Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster, representing most of the more than 62,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to each year in the U.S. In Southern Missouri, local Red Cross volunteers responded to 256 home fires since January 1, 2019.
In Southern Missouri, the Southern Missouri Chapter and local partners have installed over 1300 free smoke alarms and made close to 500 households safer from the threat of home fires since January 1, 2019.
About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. For information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org