For those of us in the Red Cross, this time of year also means an increase in home fires - the most prevalent disaster of all. Home fires are always a devastating event, and the holiday timing often creates an added sense of loss when homes are destroyed.
Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fire and home fire injuries. The holidays are a time when cooking increases as we gather together and share time honored traditions that include dining with family and friends. There are steps that we can take to lessen the risk for ourselves and if we take the time to share the information, for our friends and family as well.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire – pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains – away from your stove top and oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
- Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
- Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedroom if you sleep with doors closed.
- Visit redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to prevent cooking fires.
As Red Crossers, we not only need to follow these steps to a safer holiday, but spread the word to others. Thanksgiving is a time to pause and think of all the wonderful people that make our world better. What better way to celebrate the people we love than to help ensure that they have a safe holiday season? Take time today and share the tips above with a friend.