Thanksgiving is almost here and across the country, hungry Americans are gearing up for one of the most splendid feasts of the year. However, in the midst of all the preparations and excitement, it is important to remember that Thanksgiving week is notorious for an increased risk of cooking fires and travel incidents.

Taking just a few minutes to read these safety tips could mean the difference between enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday and having a turkey dinner end in disaster…

Cook Carefully! Did You Know that Thanksgiving is a High Risk Day for Home Fires?

According to the United States Fire Administration, the number of home fires that happen on Thanksgiving is more than double the average number of fires in residential buildings compared to a normal day. Follow the tips below to avoid a catastrophe, and be sure to test your smoke alarms and practice your fire escape plan until everyone in your household can get out in two minutes or less. Visit for free fire safety resources.

  1. Keep an eye on what you fry. Stay in the kitchen and 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. These include towels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains.
  3. Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  4. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the heat (stove).
  5. Turn pot handles to the back of the stove so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
  6. Fires can start when the heat is too high. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
  9. Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to ensure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
  10. Remember to stay alert! Don’t use the stove if you are overtired or have consumed alcohol.

If a small fire does occur, get everyone out quickly and close the door behind you to contain the fire. Call 9-1-1 from outside your home.

Bonus tip: Download the American Red Cross First Aid App and activate the Red Cross First Aid Skill for Alexa-enabled devices ahead of time and review how to treat burns and what to do if someone is choking.

If Heading Out of Town for Thanksgiving, Read This Before You Get On the Road!

According to AAA, more than 55 million travelers are making plans to kick off the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving. Whether you’re traveling across town or across the country, it’s important to think about auto safety. Make it to dinner safe and sound by following these safety trips during your travels.

  1. Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip. Take the time to review your vehicle’s owner’s manual and learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them.
  2. Pack an emergency preparedness kit, supplies and a first aid kit in your vehicle.
  3. Share your travel plans with a family member or friend.
  4. Check the weather along your route before departing. Plan for travel around any storms or severe weather that may be coming.
  5. Buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired. Designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation.
  6. Follow the rules of the road and use extra caution in work zones, bad weather, heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas.
  7. Be well rested and alert for a drive of any distance.
  8. Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  9. Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
  10. If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

Take time to review New York State’s expanded Move Over Law which applies when approaching emergency or hazard vehicles along roadways. Also take note of New York State’s Child Passenger Safety law which, as of November 1, 2019, requires all children under of the age of 2 to use a rear facing car seat.

Bonus tip: Download the Red Cross Emergency App for safety tips and customizable weather alerts for where you and your loved ones live and areas where you are traveling.

Wherever you are celebrating, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Remember that your local Red Cross will be extra thankful to you for following these tips and starting the holiday season on the right note!