American Red Cross Urges People to Stay Safe Cooking this Holiday Season
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S.
The American Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year – one every eight minutes – and most are home fires. Last year, the Eastern Pennsylvania Region of the American Red Cross responded to more than 1,200 disasters and helped approximately 5,350 people. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the Red Cross encourages families to prevent kitchen fires by taking some basic safety measures.
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 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 – it will 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 to 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.
RED CROSS APPS People can learn how to help prevent a home fire and what to do if one occurs by downloading the Red Cross Emergency App. They can use the app’s Family Safe feature to help stay in touch with loved ones. Children can earn points and incentives in a fun, gaming environment while learning how to prevent a home fire and other emergencies in the Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App. The First Aid App provides expert advice including what to do for burns, broken bones, and breathing and cardiac emergencies. The apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross has been working to reduce that number through its Home Fire Campaign, credited in its first year with saving several lives and protecting thousands of others by installing new smoke alarms in their homes.
The Home Fire Campaign is a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Working with fire departments and community groups across the country, the Red Cross and its partners have installed more than 125,000 smoke alarms in homes across all 50 states.
The Red Cross also is asking every household in America to take the two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.
WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO People can visit redcross.org/homefires to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire. To find the location of smoke alarm installation events or to become a volunteer, contact the Red Cross at 215-299-4000. People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 70,000 other disasters every year, from home fires to wildfires and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.