Written by The Herald-News
Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about loved ones getting together and enjoying a delicious holiday dinner. Since cooking is the number one cause of home fires, the American Red Cross announces the top 10 ways to avoid a fire while preparing holiday meals this year:
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 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.
To learn how to prevent a fire in your home and how to keep members of your household safe, you can download The Red Cross Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist. Downloadable fact sheets are also available on how to be fire safe over the holidays, how to avoid home heating fires, candle safety, proper use of smoke alarms and how to teach your children what to do in the event of a fire.