Thanksgiving is one of the country's top days for cooking fires, and the American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas encourages family chefs to follow simple steps to prepare the holiday feast safely.
"Home fires are a real threat over the holidays and represent most of the Red Cross disaster responses locally and nationally," said Lori Arnold, executive director of American Red Cross serving Greater Arkansas. "Help keep your family safe by always keeping an eye on what you fry, testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your two-minute escape plan with everyone in your household," Arnold said in a news release.
COOKING SAFETY TIPS
Follow these safety tips and visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family.
You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency and First Aid apps by searching "American Red Cross" in app stores. Never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
Move items that can burn away from the stove. This includes dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains. Also keep children and pets at least three feet away. Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
When frying food, turn the burner off if you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil. Carefully remove the pan from the burner. Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire.
This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN
Since October 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign with community partners has saved at least 1,414 lives including 33 in the Missouri and Arkansas region, which includes adjoining counties on the Kansas side of the Greater Kansas City and Northwest Missouri chapter and adjoining counties on the Illinois side of the Greater St. Louis chapter, according to a news release.
The Home Fire Campaign involves educating families about fire safety, helping them create escape plans and installing more than 2.4 million free smoke alarms in high-risk neighborhoods across the country.
If you cannot afford to purchase smoke alarms or are physically unable to install one, the Red Cross may be able to help.
Contact your local Red Cross for help. Details: www.redcross.org/Arkansas.
In Pine Bluff, residents who need free smoke alarms or assistance with alarms may contact the Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services Department at (870) 730-2048.