Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter

Thanksgiving Safety

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 occur on Thanksgiving Day. Just because we get to take a break from dieting on Thanksgiving, doesn’t mean we can throw caution to the autumn winds. Remember these suggestions and have a happy and safe holiday.

To help prevent home fires this Thanksgiving, the Red Cross suggests the following tips:

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of Thanksgiving Day home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
  • To prevent cooking fires, you must 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, towels 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.
  • 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, baking, 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
  • 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.
  • Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner
  • Turn the handles of pots and pans on the stove inward to avoid accidents.
  • Follow all manufacturer guidelines regarding the appropriate use of appliances.
  • After guests leave, walk around the home, making sure that all candles and smoking materials are extinguished.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working.

Cooking-Related Burns

Even with the best preparation and precautions, accidents can happen. Thanksgiving is high time for cooking related burns. Minor burns can be treated easily if you remember to save the butter for the rolls and not a burn. For a superficial burn, cool the area by running it under cold water until the heat eases and then loosely cover the burn with a sterile dressing.

Don't Choke on the Turkey!

Another danger that can interrupt a good turkey dinner is choking. The most common cause of choking is talking while eating. If you feel as if food may be caught in your throat, never leave the room, stay where others can see you and help if your airway becomes blocked.

To help someone who is choking, remember "FIVE-and-FIVE Can Keep Them Alive." First, ask the person if they are able to breathe and if you can help. Once you know the person is unable to cough, speak or breathe, have someone call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number, lean the person forward and give FIVE sharp back blows with the heel of your hand. If the obstruction isn't dislodged, give the person FIVE quick, upward abdominal thrusts. If you are alone, you can perform abdominal thrusts on yourself, just as you would on someone else. Thrusts can also be administered by pressing your abdomen firmly against an object such as the back of a chair.

Don't Let the Flu Ruin Your Holiday

  • If you are travelling and feel sick, seriously consider staying home. If you have the flu, its a good chance you can spread it to others and you will feel miserable doing so.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water (or 60% alchohol hand sanitizer) frequently when travelling, as there will be people all around you who do not follow our first tip.
  • At family gatherings, try and cut down on the handshaking and the PDAs. Now is a good time for your family and friends to learn the art of bowing.
  • Bring lots of tissues - for your own coughs and sneezes and to offer to others for theirs. The guidebooks all say to sneeze into the inside of your elbow or arm if you don't have a tissue, which is why we think you should carry some with you so you don't have to do this.

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