Red Cross offers cooking, fire safety tips for Thanksgiving

The American Red Cross of Central and Northern Missouri offers cooking safety tips to avoid cooking fires this Thanksgiving.

According to a Red Cross release, "Thanksgiving and the day before are the top two days in this country for the chance of a cooking fire to happen in someone's home."

Rebecca Gordon, executive director of the American Red Cross of Central and Northern Missouri, said most cooking fires "happen because people leave cooking food unattended."

"Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, home fire injuries and the second leading cause of home fire deaths," Gordon said.

The Red Cross recommends staying in the kitchen when grilling, broiling or frying food.

"If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove," the release states.

Setting a timer serves as a reminder that a stove or oven is in use.

The Red Cross suggests people should "avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking."

Children and pets should remain "at least three feet away from cooking areas," the release states.

Flammable items such as wooden utensils, paper or plastic packaging, towels, oven mitts, potholders and curtains should be kept away from stove tops and other heat-generating appliances.

To avoid grease build-up, cooking surfaces should be cleaned on a regular basis.

People should "always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off," the release states.

The Red Cross recommends having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and a smoke alarm in the kitchen, near sleeping areas and on each level of the home. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and have batteries replaced at least once a year.

For more information about home fire safety, visit