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Cooking Safety Tips For Thanksgiving Chefs

With cooking as the leading cause of home fires, the American Red Cross is offering a rundown of safety tips to ensure a safe holiday.

The following is from the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross:

Thanksgiving is all about food and family. However, preparing holiday goodies can lead to disaster. According to the American Red Cross, the kitchen is the location of more fires than any other room in the house and cooking is the leading cause of fires in the home. 

The American Red Cross has safety steps to use while preparing your Thanksgiving feast.

"We want folks to have a safe holiday," said Linda Carbone, CEO of Florida's West Coast Region. "We have steps they can follow to avoid ruining their holiday with a cooking fire."

At-home chefs should start by not wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Never leave cooking food unattended and stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If someone must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove. 

Other safety steps include:

  • Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking and use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
  • Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a "kid-free zone" and 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, 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.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the Hillsborough Fire Rescue to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
  • Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
  • Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas and inside and outside bedrooms. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

Another helpful step is to download the Red Cross First Aid app which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in someone's hand. The app is available for iPhone and Android devices. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it's never been easier to know first aid.

House fires are the worst disaster threat to families in the United States. To learn how to prevent a fire in the home and how to keep members of the household safe, people can download The Red Cross Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist.

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