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Make safety a priority this Thanksgiving


Red Cross Offers Cooking Safety Tips and First Aid for Choking Steps

WASHINGTON — According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 1,400 home fires involving cooking equipment on Thanksgiving Day in 2006, which is more than three times the daily average.
“Cooking fires are more likely to occur on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year, so it’s crucial to follow safety tips to keep fires from happening,” says Joscelyn Silsby, Preparedness Manager for the Red Cross. “People can lose track of what’s happening in the kitchen when spending time with family and friends.Check on food in the oven regularly and stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stove.”
To help prevent home fires this Thanksgiving, and every day, the Red Cross offers the following tips:

* 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 and broiler.
* Set timers to keep track of turkeys and other food items that require extended cooking times and remain in the home when the oven is on.
* Never hold a child while cooking, drinking or carrying hot foods or liquids.
* Keep children and pets away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid- and pet-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food is prepared.
* Keep anything that can catch fire-potholders, food wrappers, towels or curtains-away from your stove top.
* Treat every pot or pan as if it is scalding hot.
* Turn pot and pan handles away from the stove’s edge to keep them from being bumped or knocked over.
* Wear short, close-fitting or tightly-rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
* Follow all manufacturer guidelines regarding the appropriate use of appliances.
* After guests leave, designate a responsible adult to walk around the home making sure that all candles and smoking materials are put out.

Even with the best preparation and precautions, injuries can still 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.
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. If coughing, encourage the person to continue coughing. 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.
For more Red Cross fire safety and first aid information visit

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the California Wildfires,, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting


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