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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 of Tennessee encourages everyone to never leave cooking food unattended — which is the most common cause of kitchen fires.

Here are 10 cooking safety tips for your Turkey Day:

  • 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 their smoke alarms and practice their home fire escape plan until everyone in their 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 biggest disaster threat 

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. During 2019, in the Tennessee Region, more than 6,480 people have been assisted by the Red Cross following a home fire. There were 193,500 hours worked by 2,921 Red Cross volunteers, helping to provide those in need with their urgent needs like lodging, food and emotional support. 

Through the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, we’ve also saved at least 642 lives nationwide by working with partners to install free smoke alarms in at-risk areas and educate families about home fire safety. More than 8,370 free smoke alarms were installed across the state to make homes safer in the past year.

Article submitted by the American Red Cross.

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