“We want folks to have a safe holiday. Whether folks travel by plane, train or they take to the highway, there are things they can do to have a safer trip,” said Stan Gibert, Red Cross East Tennessee regional communications director. “We also have steps they can follow to avoid ruining their holiday with a cooking fire.”
The cooks should start by not wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Never leave cooking food unattended — 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:
n Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
n Keep kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free-zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
n 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.
n Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
n Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department to find out how to get training on the proper use of extinguishers.
n Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
n 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.
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, download The Red Cross Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist. This app and others are offered to the public for free.
The Red Cross First Aid app is available for iPhone and Android devices. This program places expert advice for everyday emergencies in someone’s hand. Instant access is granted upon installation to the information needed to handle the most common first aid emergencies. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice, it’s never been easier to know first aid.
Those traveling this holiday season should consider a few safety tips. To arrive safely, the Red Cross recommends these safety steps for travelers who will drive to visit their loved ones this Thanksgiving:
n Make sure the vehicle is in good working order. Start with a full tank of gas, check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full. Be well rested and alert.
n Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. Designate a driver who won’t drink. Use caution in work zones. Give one’s full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cellphones.
n Observe speed limits — driving too fast or too slow can increase the chance of being in a collision. Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If the driver is tired, stop and get some rest.
n Be respectful of other motorists and follow the rules of the road. Don’t follow another vehicle too closely. If car trouble develops, pull off the road as far as possible.
n Clean the vehicle’s headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or if using windshield wipers due to inclement weather. Don’t overdrive the headlights.
It’s also recommended that you keep an emergency preparedness kit in the vehicle. Useful items include water, snacks, a flashlight, first aid kit, extra cash and blankets. Red Cross Emergency Preparedness kits are available in the Red Cross Store.
For people traveling by air, bus or train, the Red Cross reminds them that the seasonal flu can occur as early as October. If people have come in contact with someone who is sick, perhaps the trip should be postponed as they may be contagious for a week before symptoms appear.
Remember that everything someone touches has to be touched by someone else — luggage handlers, etc. Handle one’s own belongings as much as possible.
Wash hands often with soap and water. Travelers are advised to carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes. These can be used to wash hands or wipe down surfaces such as armrests.
Additional precautions include bringing one’s own pillows and blankets. All coughs and sneezes should be directed into a tissue or sleeve. Remember, avoid touching the face or eyes as these often carry germs.
For more information on how to remain safe this Thanksgiving, visit www.redcross.org. The Red Cross is currently seeking additional volunteers in Southeast Tennessee. For information, call 423-265-3455.