While the coronavirus may have changed many of our Thanksgiving gatherings, the need to protect ourselves from cooking fires continues. 

Typically, Thanksgiving is one of the peak days for cooking fires, which is the top cause of home fires in the U.S. Most often, these emergencies are caused by unattended cooking — a common behavior shared by nearly 70% of us, as shown in a national American Red Cross survey earlier this year. 

To help keep you and your loved ones safe, the American Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast urges everyone to follow these safety tips: 

  1. Keep an eye on what you fry! Never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  2. Move items that can burn away from the stove. This includes dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains. Also, keep children and pets at least three feet away.
  3. Avoid wearing loose clothing while cooking.
  4. When frying food, turn the burner off if you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil. Carefully remove the pan from the burner.
  5. Keep a pan, lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. 

Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores). 

For COVID-19 safety tips, visit redcross.org/coronavirus

To learn how you can support American Red Cross safety, preparedness and relief efforts visit: https://www.redcross.org/local/texas/gulf-coast.html

Prepared by Ekland Durousseau, American Red Cross contributor