CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As millions of Americans get together to enjoy Thanksgiving with family, friends and great food, the American Red Cross is offering tips to help keep people safe while traveling and cooking.
The Red Cross says they respond to a house fire every 3.9 hours in South Carolina alone. Just so far in November, officials say volunteers have helped more than 200 people, including 74 children, impacted by house fires in the Palmetto State.
The leading cause of those fires, according to the Red Cross, is cooking.
The organization is offering advice to keep you safe on the roads as well as in the kitchen.
The Red Cross offered the following tips for cooking safety:
- 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 your smoke alarm requires it.
- 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 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, 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.
- Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
- Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
For driving safety, the Red Cross offered the following tips:
- Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
- Pack an emergency preparedness kit and supplies in the trunk.
- Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
- Check the weather along your route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming.
- Be well rested and alert.
- Buckle up, slow down, and don’t drive while impaired.
- Follow the rules of the road and use caution in work zones.
- Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
- If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.