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Georgia Red Cross provides 5 tips to prevent cooking fires during the holidays

FILE - Tented turkey in oven during the preparation of a traditional American Thanksgiving holiday meal, San Ramon, California, November 23, 2019. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
FILE - Tented turkey in oven during the preparation of a traditional American Thanksgiving holiday meal, San Ramon, California, November 23, 2019. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images) (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

While your holiday plans may be different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Georgia Red Cross wants to make sure you protect yourself from cooking fires if you still plan on preparing food.

According to the latest report on home cooking fires released by the National Fire Protection Association, the holiday season is the peak for home cooking fires, which increase by 250% on Thanksgiving and 59% on Christmas Day in comparison to the daily average. The Georgia Red Cross said it responded to nearly 2,200 home and apartment fires and has helped more than 9,500 people recover from those disasters in the months of November and December over the last four years.

To help keep you and your loved ones safe during the holiday season, the Georgia Red Cross is encouraging people across the state to following these five safety tips to prevent cooking fires:

  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 3 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.

In addition, the Georgia Red Cross reminds you to test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information.