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Christmas Spirit Can Spark Fires

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Sacramento, CA – Make your Christmas a happy not hazardous one. The American Red Cross urges residents to take extra precautions when cooking and entertaining around the holidays.

“Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, and as people are cooking and entertaining this holiday season, we’re urging that they take safety measures to ensure that their homes and loved ones are safe from the threat of fire,” says Kathleen Weis, Chief Executive Officer for the Red Cross Capital Region.

The National Fire Prevention Association reports Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving are the top three days for cooking fires. Across the county the Red Cross responds to a disaster on average every eight minutes. Red Cross officials say the vast majority of them are home fires. The organization has come up with these simple steps to keep your holiday happy and safe:

Holiday Entertaining:

• Test your smoke alarms.
• 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.
• Enforce a “kid-free zone” in the cooking area and make children stay at least three feet away from the stove.
• Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stove, oven or any appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
• Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
• Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department to receive training on the proper use of extinguishers.

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