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Red Cross offers holiday safety tips

The American Red Cross of Utah offers safety tips for those who are cooking and traveling for Thanksgiving. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — The American Red Cross of Utah wants to help you stay safe as you cook and travel this Thanksgiving. So they have created a list of ways to do just that.

Communications Director Rich Woodruff warns there’s a big spike in home fires from cooking on Thanksgiving.

“I would say that a big thing is don’t get distracted,” Woodruff said. “You want to keep an eye on that stove. Home fire, cooking safety is probably the number one type of fire that we respond to.”

Safety tips for cooking

He said it’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher nearby while cooking. Woodruff also warned against wearing loose clothing while cooking, like sleeves that dangle.

He also said you should never leave the kitchen while cooking, even for a short period of time. “Unattended cooking is really a very very dangerous thing,” said Woodruff

Another safety precaution is to keep your pot handles from hanging over the stove because small children and even pets can get curious.

Woodruff said if you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food you should check it regularly. He encouraged people to use a timer so they don’t forget that the stove is on.

“Just be very very cognizant that there is danger there, also a working smoking alarm is very important, we can’t say that enough. So just be careful and protect yourself and your family,” said Woodruff.

Safety tips for travel

The Red Cross also has tips for traveling safely during the holidays. “It’s going to be a busy travel week, of course there always is for thanksgiving…make sure the car is in good condition for a road trip,” said Woodruff.

He said it’s especially important to drive safely with snowy weather coming in. “When you get weather like we’ve got coming, you really really want to slow down. Be very very careful. Use those extra car lanes and don’t get overconfident.”

The Red Cross recommends checking the weather before you travel, and to let your family know when to expect you. “If you hit a snag or a delay, you don’t show up that’s a warning signal that something could be wrong.”

He also recommended keeping an emergency travel safety kit in your car.

Keep your eyes on the road

And he said it’s important to make sure you pay full attention to the road, make sure you have good visibility, and make sure every part of your car is working properly. He said it’s especially important to check tire pressure.

The Red Cross also warned to avoid the flu while you’re traveling. He encouraged people to wash hands and carry hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.