Tips to keep your family safe this holiday season

The Red Cross offers safety tips for Thanksgiving

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Red Cross has responded to more than 130 fires in Eastern North Carolina in almost three months. That’s before Thanksgiving Day, which typically sees more fire calls than any other time of the year, many of them starting in the kitchen.

While the typical Thanksgiving feast may not be as large for families this year because of the pandemic, there are still some safety concerns to keep in mind this Thanksgiving and it doesn’t involve COVID-19.

Number one: preventing house fires. From deep frying a turkey to cooking a handful of side dishes at one time, to leaving items on the stove or in the oven...all of which can lead to disaster.

“You want to turn handles from any of your pans to the back, especially if you have small kids in the area,” said James Jarvis, executive director of Red Cross of the Cape Fear. “They’ll try to hold on to surfaces to steady themselves and you don’t want them pulling a hot dish on themselves.”

But that’s not the only thing to be cautious of as the weather gets colder.

“Space heaters have space in them for a reason,” said Jarvis.

You want to make sure there’s a minimum of three feet of space around your heater, so nothing burns or catches on fire. And there’s one feature you’ll want to have when buying one of these—a safety shot-off mechanism.

“If it gets knocked, over it’ll automatically shut off,” said Jarvis.

It’s not rocket science, but not paying attention to the smallest details can lead to disaster; that’s why it’s always best to be prepared.

The majority of fires happen while you’re sleeping, so make sure your smoke detectors are working—and make a plan to know exactly how to get out of the house and where to meet family once you’re all safe.

“Nobody expects a home fire, so it’s really important that you take the precautions to protect you and your family,” said Jarvis. “Last thing you want to do is have a tragedy on a night of celebration.

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