ARC Offers Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving Holiday

DUBOIS – With Thanksgiving right around the corner, everyone looks forward to spending time with family and friends while enjoying large portions of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Yet the many cooking and travel preparations associated with Thanksgiving can sometimes lead to life-threatening situations. The American Red Cross provides cooking and travel safety tips to ensure a happy and safe Thanksgiving Day for area residents.

“Thanksgiving is a time for families to gather together to share good company and good food,” said Patricia Waldinger, chief executive officer of the Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Region.

“The Red Cross wants to provide these families with the safety tips to prevent emergency situations from arising over the holiday weekend.”

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires; it should always be executed carefully.  Thanksgiving chefs should start by not wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. They should also never leave the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. Even when leaving the kitchen for a short period of time, they should always turn off the stove.

Below are additional cooking safety tips:

  • Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
  • Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire – pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains-away from the stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  • Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

To learn more about how to prevent a fire in the home and how to keep members of the household safe, download The Red Cross Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist.

Thanksgiving is also one of the heaviest traveled times of the year. For those traveling by car, bus, train or plane, the Red Cross recommends the following:


  • Make sure the vehicle is in good working order.
  • Start out with a full tank of gas, check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full.
  • Buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired. Designate a driver who will not drink.
  • Give one’s full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If the driver is tired, stop and get some rest.
  • Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or if using windshield wipers due to inclement weather.
  • Keep an emergency preparedness kit in the vehicle. Useful items include water, snacks, a flashlight, first aid kit, extra cash and blankets.


For people traveling by air, bus or train, the Red Cross reminds them that the seasonal flu can occur as early as October. Safety tips to avoid the flu while traveling include:

  • Remember that everything someone touches has to be touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc. Handle one’s own belongings as much as possible. Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes and use them to wash hands or wipe down surfaces such as armrests.
  • Bring one’s own pillows and blankets – they can act as a shield against the seat itself.
  • If someone has to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or sleeve.
  • Avoid touching the face or eyes.

For more information on how to remain safe while traveling this Thanksgiving, visit

Follow us on Facebook, Red Cross PA Heartland Chapter and Twitter at RedCrossWPA.

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