This Thanksgiving, the Federal Emergency Management Agency wants to make sure that Americans are safe as they celebrate the holiday.
In a recent press release, the agency specifically urged people gathering for Turkey Day to avoid fire risks.
According to FEMA, the first step people can do to cut down fire risk is to make sure that all of their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are working. Usually, batteries in these devices need to be changed twice per year.
Next, the agency recommends that people “practice smart cooking,” which involves staying in the kitchen while food is being fried, grilled, broiled or boiled.
“Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so they won’t get bumped,” said the agency. “Clean cooking equipment after each use – crumbs in a toaster or grease on the stove can catch on fire.”
While Thanksgiving cooking is sure to heat up the kitchen, people in some areas – such as snow-covered Buffalo, N.Y. – may need some extra heat.
“Heat your home safely,” said FEMA. “Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from fireplaces, wood stoves, portable heaters and radiators. When you leave a room or go to bed, turn heaters off or unplug them.”
Lastly, the agency warned people to decorate with care for their holiday celebrations.
“Nearly half of holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source,” FEMA explained. “Think about using battery-operated flameless candles this season. If that isn’t an option, place candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns and ensure they cannot be reached by children or pets.”
For people who get into the Christmas spirit early and already have their tree up, or are planning to before Thanksgiving, FEMA recommends inspecting any old holiday lights for frayed wires and that people with live trees water them daily.