The American Red Cross offers the following tips to prevent home fires this Thanksgiving:
• Monitor your cooking at all times. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of Thanksgiving Day home fires.
• Keep potholders and food wrappers at least three feet away from heat sources while cooking.
• Wear tighter fitting clothing with shorter sleeves when cooking.
• Make sure all stoves, ovens and ranges have been turned off when you leave the kitchen.
• Set timers to keep track of turkeys and other food items that require extended cooking times.
• Turn handles of pots and pans on the stove inward to avoid accidents.
• Follow all manufacturer guidelines regarding the appropriate use of appliances.
• After guests leave, designate a responsible adult to walk around the home, making sure that all candles and smoking materials are extinguished.
Finally, it’s important for every household to make sure to have working smoke alarms. In a study commissioned by the American Red Cross and National Fire Protection Association, 37 percent of respondents admitted to disabling a smoke alarm when it went off unexpectedly. The American Red Cross encourages people to install smoke alarms on every level of their house and outside sleeping areas and to test the batteries once a month.
Cooking-related burns are a common hazard of the Thanksgiving holiday. For a superficial burn, cool the area by running it under cold water until the heat eases and then loosely cover the burn with a sterile dressing to help prevent infection. A critical burn requires medical attention.
Choking is another threat to a happy holiday dinner. Common causes of choking include talking while eating; eating too fast; and trying to swallow large pieces of poorly chewed food. If you feel as if food may be caught in your throat, never leave the room—stay where others can see you and help if your airway becomes blocked.
To help someone who is choking, remember “five-and-five Can Keep Them Alive.” First, ask the person if they are able to breathe and if you can help. Once you know the person is unable to cough, speak or breathe, have someone call 911 or your local emergency number.
Lean the person forward and give five sharp back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. If the obstruction isn’t dislodged, stand behind the person and give fivequick, upward thrusts into the abdomen. Repeat back blows and abdominal thrusts as necessary.
If you are alone, you can perform abdominal thrusts on yourself, just as you would on someone else. Thrusts can also be administered by leaning over and pressing your abdomen firmly against an object such as the back of a chair.
For additional American Red Cross safety information, please visit www.okredcross.org. To contact your local Rogers/Mayes/Wagoner County Service Center, please call (918) 343-1803.