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Red Cross offers tips for safe holiday season

Thanksgiving promises to be different this year from any other, and the American Red Cross reminds everyone to include important safety ingredients as part of holiday activities.

First, to stay safe from COVID-19, avoid attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside your household. Instead, have a small dinner with family and perhaps a virtual dinner with friends and family who live outside the home. If you want to share favorite dishes, prepare family recipes for nearby loved ones and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and deliver them without direct contact.

For holiday shopping, avoid crowded stores and revert to online shopping.

With all of the attention directed at the pandemic, other Thanksgiving safety rules might be overlooked. But the Red Cross reminds everyone that cooking a holiday meal requires attention to safety as well.

Never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove. Move items that can burn away from the stove, this includes dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains. Also keep children and pets at least 3 feet away.

Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking, and when frying food, turn off the burner if you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil. Carefully remove the pan from the burner.

Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover a pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.

Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on. Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to ensure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.

The Red Cross also reminds everyone to be prepared for potential house fire situations, urging people to understand where the fire risks are in their homes, knowing the exit options and suggesting people plan a response with their families.

All homes should have a working smoke alarm. It’s one of the easiest ways to protect your home and family from injuries, death and destruction of property.

Download the free Red Cross First Aid app for instant access on how to control bleeding, help someone who is choking and other scenarios. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores.

The Red Cross also offers disaster preparedness training through the Be Red Cross Ready program, which helps families and individuals become ready for an emergency. Through online materials, participants learn skills to evacuate safely and efficiently from a home fire, emergency or disaster area. Learn more about Red Cross Ready at https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies.html

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