Home fires are the most common disaster that the American Red Cross responds to, but in the past couple of weeks, Red Cross responders have faced a bigger job than normal. An uptick in home fires affecting multiple families has cropped up across the country, including instances in Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Montana and Washington.
Most Red Cross responses to these multiple-family fires include assisting families with food, emergency lodging and clothing. In some cases, like a recent fire in Reading, Pa., the Red Cross sets up a temporary shelter to house anyone displaced by the fire until long-term housing can be arranged.
The Northwest Ohio Region Red Cross assisted more than 50 people involved in a large fire in Toledo, Ohio on April 12 by providing emotional support, food, clothing, infant supplies, comfort kits, medical needs and temporary shelter. Moving forward, the chapter will continue to help the families with direct recovery assistance, including support for security deposits at new rentals, bedding and linens.
Linda Bliss, a Red Cross client in Toledo, stated, “You see hurricanes, tornadoes and fires and the Red Cross always pops up to help. You never think you are going to need that kind of help but I am so glad they were there for us. They sure have been wonderful.”
BE RED CROSS READY While home fires affecting multiple families may sound scary, it’s important to remember home fires are also the most preventable disaster. The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. Sixty-five percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. During a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.
Remember basic fire safety tips:
Steps you can take now to prepare for and prevent fires:
Create and practice your fire escape:
LEARN MORE Visit redcross.org for more information on how to prepare for, respond to and recover from a home fire. You can also keep this printable checklist on hand as a perfect way to help you protect your family and your home from fire hazards.