“Red Cross Disaster Teams have responded to and cared for Arkansans affected by at least five home fires every day since Christmas Eve,” stated American Red Cross in Arkansas Disaster Director Roger Elliot. The loss of two lives on New Year’s Day due to a home fire heightens Elliot’s concern for the possibility of more fires with record low temperatures predicted for January.
With hopes of keeping the number of residential fires as low as possible and loss of additional life to zero, the Red Cross is urging Arkansans to take the following actions for their fire safety:
• Do not use fireplaces and heating units that have not been professionally checked.
• All heaters need space! Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture as well as pets and people, at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, stoves and space heaters.
• Place portable space heaters on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away. Look for a model that shuts off automatically if the space heater tips over.
• Do not use heating equipment to dry wet clothing.
• Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
• Never leave unattended food or liquids cooking on stoves or in ovens.
• Never leave portable heaters, wood burning stoves or fireplaces unattended. Turn them off before leaving or going to bed.
• Keep the fire in the fireplace by using a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
“Everyone should have at least one working fire alarm and a fire evacuation plan at home,’ stated Disaster Director Roger Elliot. “A fire alarm can wake you during an overnight blaze, or get your attention there’s danger when you’re on another floor in the home,”
In the event of power outages the following tips are recommended:
• Never use a generator inside a home, garage, basement or crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
• Keep an ice filled cooler and digital quick response thermometer on hand to preserve your food for extended outages.
• When using a portable generator, do not connect it to your home’s electrical system.
• Always read, follow and maintain generator according to manufacturer’s operating instructions.
For more generator safety tips and for preparing for power outages check your American Red Cross Tornado App under PREPARE: Right Before & During. To download the app visit your app store or dial on your smartphone **REDCROSS to receive a link to the app.
About the American Red Cross in Arkansas:
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/arkansas, redcross.org or follow us on Twitter@ArkRedCross.