Red Cross issues tips for safe cooking, travel

HARRISBURG — Thanksgiving is almost here — a time when people will travel home to visit loved ones and households will prepare the holiday feast. The American Red Cross has steps people can follow to have a safe holiday.

“Cooking is the number one cause of home fires,” said Jeri Sims, Regional CEO for the American Red Cross of Central Pennsylvania. “And thousands of people will travel over the holiday. We want people to stay safe and offer steps they can take to avoid a kitchen fire and reach their destination safely.”


Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.

Anyone frying, grilling or broiling food should never leave it unattended.

Anyone simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food should check it regularly.

Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.

Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.

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.

Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.

Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.

Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.

Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.


If driving, check the weather along the planned route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming. Watch weather predictions for the entire route to know what to expect along the way.

Buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired. Give full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cellphones.

Be well rested and alert.

Follow the rules of the road.

Use caution in work zones.

Observe speed limits — driving too fast or too slow can increase your chance of being in a collision. Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.

Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If a driver is too tired, stop and get some rest.

Clean headlights, tail lights, signal lights and windows to improve visibility, especially at night.

Turn on headlights as dusk approaches, or if using your windshield wipers due to inclement weather.