Food & Drink

Thanksgiving Cooking Safety Tips from the Red Cross

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PRINCETON, NJ — Thanksgiving is almost here. It's a time when many people will travel home to visit loved ones and households will prepare the holiday feast. The American Red Cross has steps people can follow to have a safe holiday.

“Cooking is the number one cause of home fires,” said Paul Gass, regional preparedness manager, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “We want people to stay safe and offer steps they can take to avoid kitchen fires.”

  1. Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.
  2. If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended – stay in the kitchen. If you just leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  3. If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
  4. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
  5. Keep children and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
  6. Keep anything that can catch fire – pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains – away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  7. Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
  8. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
  9. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
  10. Install smoke alarms on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

Bonus Tip: Download the American Red Cross First Aid App. The free app provides users with quick, expert advice to help handle many common first aid emergencies. See all the Red Cross apps at redcross.org/apps.

The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 5,300 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey, last year, the Red Cross responded to 767 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 1,803 displaced families; collected 89,160 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 3,516 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 116,154 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visit redcross.org/NJ and follow us on Twitter @NJRedCross.

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