Millions of people will travel to spend their Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones and the American Red Cross has steps they can follow to help make sure they have a safe trip.
The holiday is also a time when cooks spend a lot of time in the kitchen and there are tips they can use to avoid a cooking fire while whipping up their Thanksgiving dinner.
“The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest times of the year for travelers and we want to make sure everyone remains safe on their trip,” said Maria Devlin, CEO of the American Red Cross in New Hampshire and Vermont. “Cooking is the number one cause of home fires, so we also have information cooks can follow to avoid a fire.”
TRAVEL SAFETY If plans include driving, travelers should check the weather along their route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming. Everyone should use their seat belts and no one should drink and drive. Drivers should be well rested and alert and give their full attention to the road – no cell phones. Other driving safety tips include:
- Follow the rules of the road – observe the speed limit.
- Use caution in work zones.
- Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers.
- Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
- 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.
- Pack an emergency kit for your car. A list can be found at the DMV.org site.
COOKING SAFETY Cooks should avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while preparing the holiday meal. Never leave the stove unattended – if the cook has to leave the kitchen even for a short time, they should turn off the stove. More cooking safety steps are:
- Check food regularly.
- Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
- Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
- Keep anything that can catch fire – pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from the 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 the kitchen.
- Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
DECORATING SAFETY Many of us will adorn our homes with myriad lights and baubles to create a warm and inviting atmosphere inside and out. But these items are not entirely without their own dangers. Some home decorating safety tips include:
- Inflatable lawn ornaments, lights and wreaths look great, but do they really need to be on when you’re not at home? Unplug them before you leave the house.
- They smell great, and look inviting, but unattended candles are a major source of home fires. Remember to keep everything “three feet from the heat.”
“People can also download the Red Cross First Aid App to have information at their fingertips if an emergency occurs,” said Devlin. “They can find out how more about all of the Red Cross apps at redcross.org/apps.”
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.