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Don't forget these important tips when cooking your Thanksgiving meal this year

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and dinner preparations underway, here's how you can prevent the most common causes of home fires.

MOLINE, Ill. — Thanksgiving is coming up quickly, and you know what that means; a huge, home-cooked meal with the people you love.

However, the holiday feast isn't always so carefree. According to the American Red Cross, cooking fires are the most common cause of house fires. With large cooking projects underway during the holidays, it's even more important to stay safe and know how to respond in case something goes wrong.

Here are the Red Cross's tips for cooking safety and home fire response this holiday season:

  • Most cooking fires are caused by leaving the cooking process unattended. Always have someone in the home checking on items cooking in the oven. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • Move flammable items, like dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains away from the stove. 
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Don't wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves when cooking
  • When frying food, turn off the burner if you see smoke or the grease starts boiling, and then carefully remove the pan.
  • Keep a pan lid or cookie sheet nearby; you can use those to cover pans if they catch on fire.
  • Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove so passersby can't bump into them.
  • Use timers to remind yourself that the stove and/or oven is on.
  • Double-check the kitchen after the meal to make sure all appliances are turned off.

For fire response, test your smoke alarms monthly and make sure that your family knows how to follow your fire escape plan and get out of the house in two minutes — the amount of time you have to get out of a burning home before it's too late.

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