The Hawaii chapter of the American Red Cross is offering tips this holiday season to help prevent accidents and emergencies.
For holiday decorations and parties:
* Place Christmas trees at least 3 feet away from heat sources and exits. Water the tree daily.
* Don't overload electrical outlets, and be sure to unplug holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
* Keep candles away from combustible materials and in a place where children and pets can't get to them.
* Pick a designated driver when attending a party and provide nonalcoholic beverage options if hosting a party.
* Keep children and pets away from the stove and turn pot handles in and burners off if leaving the kitchen.
"We want folks to have a safe holiday season," said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter. "We also have steps they can follow to avoid ruining their holiday with a cooking fire."
Cooks should start by not wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves. Never leave cooking food unattended, and stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If someone must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
Other safety steps include:
* 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 children away from the cooking area. Enforce a "kid-free zone" and make them stay at least 3 feet away from the stove.
* Keep anything that can catch fire - potholders, 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.
* Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
* Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen.
* Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
* 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.
No matter where people are spending the holidays, downloading the American Red Cross First Aid app allows users to have information on what to do in emergencies when and where they need it. A variety of mobile apps are available at redcross.org/mobileapps.