The Red Cross is urging Americans to be extra careful while cooking and traveling this Thanksgiving, noting that cooking is the number one cause of home fires and car crashes claim too many as thousands travel over this special family holiday.
"Thousands of people will travel over the holiday. We want people to stay safe and offer steps they can take to avoid a kitchen fire and reach their destination safely," said Lloyd Ziel, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer for the American Red Cross in New Hampshire and Vermont.
TOP TEN COOKING SAFETY TIPS
- Don't wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.
- 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.
- If you're simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
- Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
- Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
- 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.
- Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
- Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
- Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
- Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, 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.
- If driving, check the weather along your route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming. Watch weather predictions for your entire route so you know what to expect along the way.
- Buckle up, slow down, and don't drive impaired. Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Be well rested and alert.
- Follow the rules of the road.
- Use caution in work zones.
- Observe speed limits - driving too fast or too slow can increase your chance of being in a collision. Don't follow another vehicle too closely.
- Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you're too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
- Clean your headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows to help you see, especially at night.
- Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or if you are using your windshield wipers due to inclement weather. Don't overdrive your headlights.
- If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.