Can you believe the holiday season is so close? Here we are in November and it is time to think about the safety of our families and homes. You are the people who respond to help those impacted by emergencies, facilitate sessions on preparedness activities, and provide resources to make it all possible. I now ask you to lead the way by practicing safe actions during this special time of year.
The American Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year-one every eight minutes -- and most are home fires. Last year, we responded 319 home fires in Northeast Tennessee.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we encourage families to prevent kitchen fires by taking some basic safety measures. Thanksgiving is the peak day for kitchen fires, and most of those are caused by unattended cooking, The good news is that home fires can be prevented by following some simple, safety tips.
A recent Red Cross survey revealed that nearly one in five Americans (16 percent) admit to leaving food cooking unattended on the stove -- a major cause of kitchen fires. Tips to avoid cooking fires include:
· Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
· Keep young children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
· Move items that can burn away from the stove such as dishtowels, bags and boxes.
· Clean the stove and the area around it before turning on the heat.
· Don’t leave food on the stove unattended.
· Turn pot handles to the back of the stove to avoid spills.
If something catches fire in the oven, keep the door closed. Call 9-1-1 so firefighters can make sure the fire didn’t spread to the walls. If a fire occurs in the microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave if you can. Don’t use it again until a repairman checks it.
If the kitchen catches fire, make sure everyone gets out and call 9-1-1 when outside. Once outside, stay out. Never go back inside a burning building.
Download the Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies including burns.
You are important to the Red Cross, our community and your friends and family. Taking time to be safe is critical for each of us. Together let’s celebrate a safe and happy Thanksgiving.