In the U.S., Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking fires, 90 percent of which are caused by unattended cooking.
"We all think of Thanksgiving as a time for family, good food and football, but it's also prime time for cooking fires," American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter representative Stephanie Land said. "Taking a few simple precautions can help everyone have a safe and happy holiday."
To keep Thanksgiving fire-free, the public should follow these steps;
* Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove,
* If you are simmering, backing, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking and use a timer to remind you that you're cooking,
* Be alert. You won't be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy,
* Keep anything that can catch fire -- potholders, wooden utensils, food wrappers, towers or curtains -- away from your stove top,
* Make sure your sleeves are out of the way when cooking. Wear tighter fitting clothing with shorter sleeves,
* Have a "kid-free" zone of at least 3-feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried,
* Never hold a child while cooking, drinking or carrying hot foods or liquids,
* Turn the handles of pots and pans on the stove inward to avoid accidents,
* Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner, and
* Test your smoke alarms by pushing the test button. Replace batteries at least once a year.
For more information about fire safety and prevention, contact the American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter at 812-232-3393 Ext. 12, or log on to www.redcross.org.
The Wabash Valley Chapter serves families in Clay, Greene, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties in Indiana and Edgar County in Illinois.