Red Cross volunteers across the country have already responded to 3,150 home fires in the first nine days of the year, compared to 2,003 fires in 2017. Some of this may be attributed to the recent string of dangerously cold days, as colder temperatures are often linked to a rise in home fires. Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months, according to the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration.
After a home fire, a Red Cross volunteer is often among the first on the scene – offering emotional support, helping those affected to find a place to stay and assisting with recovery. As of January 9, the Red Cross has already opened 4,400 cases to help a total of 12,500 people get back on their feet after home fires in 2018.
DAY OF SERVICE INITIATIVE On Monday, January 15, to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Red Cross volunteers, fire department members and partners will visit homes in many neighborhoods at high risk for fires. They will install free smoke alarms and educate residents about what they can do now to be prepared should a fire break out in their home.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO? The Red Cross is asking every household in America to take steps to help save lives. Find out more here. In addition to preparing your home and family, volunteers are needed in many areas to help install smoke alarms in at-risk communities. People can contact their local Red Cross chapter to get involved.
Follow these tips to help prevent a fire in their home:
- Keep all potential sources of fuel – paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs – at least three feet away from sources of heat.
- Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended.
- Place space heaters on a level, hard and nonflammable surface. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Look for space heaters that shut off automatically if they are to fall over.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
- Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVES 332 LIVES The Red Cross responds to as many as 64,000 disasters every year and most of these are home fires. Sadly, seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire.
To combat these statistics, the Red Cross launched its Home Fire Campaign in 2014, focusing on installing free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching people about fire safety. Since the start of the campaign, the Red Cross and partners have installed more than 1 million smoke alarms and helped to save 332 lives.
The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. If someone would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.