November 13, 2013 – The American Red Cross is assisting two families totaling 12 people, including four children, whose Edgard home was destroyed this morning by fire. Members of the American Red Cross South Louisiana Disaster Action Team provided them with temporary housing, clothing, toiletries and meals. In the coming days Red Cross case managers will continue working with the family to provide additional services or referrals if necessary.
“The biggest disaster threat to American families isn’t floods, hurricanes or tornadoes; it’s fire,” said Kay W. Wilkins, CEO of the American Red Cross South Louisiana Region. “We remind people to be cautious once the temperatures start to dip and to take steps to reduce the risk of fire.”
The Red Cross responds to as many as 70,000 disasters every year and the majority of these are home fires.
Winter Fire Safety Tips:
Heating one’s home through the winter can be expensive, and almost half of the families in the United States use alternate heating sources such as space heaters, fireplaces, or coal or wood stoves to stay warm.
These supplemental heating sources can be dangerous if not used properly. Fires related to heating are the second leading cause of home fires in this country. The Red Cross urges everyone to use caution when using these different methods of keeping their home warm and offers the following safety tips on how to prevent fires:
• Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
• Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
• If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes.
• Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
• When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over as another safety measure.
• Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
• Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
• Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces professionally inspected and cleaned once a year.
Planning for fire emergencies is important. Make sure all household members know two ways to escape from every room of the home, and set up a meeting place outside in case of fire. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Teach household members to stop, drop and roll if their clothing should catch on fire.
Smoke alarms save lives. You should:
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
• Check monthly that smoke alarms are working properly by pushing the test button.
• Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year.
• Replace smoke alarms every ten years.
For more information about fire safety and steps you can take to be prepared, visit www.redcross.org/homefires.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 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 join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
The Southeast Louisiana Chapter serves more than 1.6 million people throughout Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John, Assumption, Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes. For more information please call 504-620-3105 or visit www.RedCross.org/NewOrleans. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RedCrossSELA or follow us on twitter: @RedCrossSELA.