American Red Cross Urges People to Stay Safe Cooking This Holiday Season

thanksgiving_dinner_1280x1024EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA [November 21, 2014] — The American Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year – one every eight minutes — and most are home fires. Last year, the Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina provided shelter, food, clothing, and emotional support to 2,628 families in need. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the Red Cross of Eastern NC encourages 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,” said James D. Jarvis, Disaster Program Specialist, Cape Fear Chapter. “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 A COOKING FIRE OCCURS, DON’T PANIC!

If a pan catches fire, don’t move it. Slide a pan lid or cookie sheet on top of the pan to put out the fire. Turn off the heat. Keep the lid on the pan until it cools. Never try to stop a grease or oil fire with water! This will actually fuel the fire.

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 into 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.  For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, please visit redcross.org/homefires.

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