2011-11-23 / Local

Red Cross serves up cooking safety tips

The Times Record

TOPSHAM

Thanksgiving is Thursday, meaning feast preparations are already under way in many local kitchens.

The Mid Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross advises families to take some basic safety measures to prevent kitchen fires, noting in a press release that Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking fires in the U.S. — 90 percent of which are caused by unattended cooking.

“We all think of Thanksgiving as a time for family celebrations, good food and football, but it’s also the prime time for cooking fires,” said Paul Clark, director of emergency services for the Mid Coast chapter. “Taking a few simple precautions can help everyone have a safe and happy holiday.”

The safety measures are as follows:

— Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If cooks leave the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.

— Keep anything that can catch fire, such as potholders, wooden utensils, food wrappers or towels, away from the stove top.

— Have a “kid- and pet-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove.

— Turn the handles of pots and pans on the stove inward to avoid accidents.

— Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms. Replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.

— Create and practice a fire escape plan. Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room.

—If a fire occurs, get out, stay out and call 911. Crawl low under smoke and stop, drop and roll if clothes should catch fire.

Check the website www.redcross.org/homefires for more information about fire safety and prevention.

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