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Safety tips for Thanksgiving offered

Thursday, November 15, 2007

TERRE HAUTE -- As Wabash Valley residents prepare Thanksgiving Day meals, the Wabash Valley Red Cross urges families to be cautious in the kitchen and to take action to prevent a home fire.

Thanksgiving Day has more than double the number of home cooking fires than an average day, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. In fact, each year, more than 4,000 fires take place on Thanksgiving Day.

"Unattended cooking is the leading cause of Thanksgiving Day home fires, and it's easy to understand why," Chapter Executive Director Carol Stevens said. "It's so easy to become distracted and lose track of what's happening in the kitchen when you are enjoying spending time with family and friends.

"We want everyone in the Wabash Valley to have a happy and fire-free Thanksgiving Day, so we're urging people to stay alert and keep safety in mind while preparing a holiday feast."

To prevent kitchen fires, the Red Cross recommends that potholders and food wrappers are kept at least three feet away from heat sources while cooking. In addition, stoves, ovens and ranges should be turned off if the responsible adult leaves the kitchen. Also, set timers to keep track of turkeys and other food items that require extended cooking times.

If planning to use a turkey fryer this season, the American Red Cross strongly recommends that all manufacturer guidelines be followed.

If entertaining guests, it's a good idea to designate a responsible family member to walk around the home making sure that all candles and smoking materials are extinguished once guests leave.

The Wabash Valley Chapter responded to more than 130 home fires last year throughout Clay, Greene, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties in Indiana and Edgar County in Illinois, and provided more than 500 individuals with emergency assistance, including shelter, food, counseling and more. This support is dependent on the generous financial contributions of Wabash Valley residents. Those interested may help the Red Cross continue to be ready to respond and help fire victims by making a financial contribution to the Wabash Valley American Red Cross.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit 222.redcross.org/homefires or call Bonnie Lu, Emergency Services Director for the Wabash Valley Chapter at 812-232-3393 Ext. 12.

The Wabash Valley Red Cross Chapter is the local affiliate that serves the citizens of Clay, Greene, Parke, Putnam,?Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties in addition to Edgar County in Illinois.

The chapter is governed by a 30-member volunteer board of directors. Each year, the chapter mobilizes relief to the victims of more than 130 home fires and other disasters, sends more than 200 emergency messages on behalf of local military families to their loved ones stationed around the world serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and trains more than 10,000 individuals how to respond to sudden illness, accidents or disasters.

For more information on the Red Cross, call 812-232-3393.



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