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Thanksgiving safety: 5 ways to prevent cooking fires

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 percent of us, as shown in a national American Red Cross survey earlier this year.

To help keep you and your loved ones safe, the Red Cross Los Angeles Region 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.


Test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late.

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).

Additionally, the Red Cross PrepareSoCal campaign provides resources for families across Southern California to help them prepare for disasters like home fires. More information can be found at preparesocal.org.

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

This article was released by the American Red Cross.