Last Updated on November 27, 2023 by American Red Cross
With the holiday season upon us, the American Red Cross wants to make sure everyone is doing their part to keep themselves and their families safe. One way to lower your risk of holiday home fires is by practicing safe cooking and decorating practices. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States.
The American Red Cross wants to remind everyone that the risk of a cooking-related home fire can be drastically reduced by following these 10 steps:
- If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended — stay in the kitchen. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.
- If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
- Use a timer to remind yourself 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 — potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your 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 your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
- Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
- Install a smoke alarm near your 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 your smoke alarm requires it.
HOLIDAY DECORATING SAFETY TIPS Follow these safety tips and visit redcross.org/fire for more information.
- If you must use candles, keep them away from anything that could burn, and place them out of reach of pets and children. Never leave burning candles unattended.
- Check all holiday light cords to ensure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together — no more than three per extension cord.
- Ensure outside decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or fire hazard.
- If buying an artificial tree, look for a fire-resistant label. When putting it up, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat. Never use electric lights on metallic trees.
- If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and keep it watered. To test if the tree is fresh, bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.
- Don’t light the fireplace if hanging stockings or other decorations on the mantel.
About the American Red Cross:
The Indiana Region serves 87 counties statewide through itssixchapter areas: Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast,Southwest, and Greater Indianapolis (Regional Headquarters).For more information on the Indiana Region:www.redcross.org/indiana.Follow the Indiana Region on Twitter at:@INRedCross, on Instagram at:@indianaredcrossorwww.facebook.com/INRedCross. # # #