The Atlanta Red Cross has busily responded to home fires since the beginning of 2013, providing emergency assistance to a total of 123 people from New Year’s Eve through January 9. The largest fire was at the Terra Creek Apartments (4900 Central Drive Stone Mountain, GA 30083), where Red Cross volunteers provided food, clothing, bedding and infant supplies to a total of twenty-five adults and fourteen children who were displaced from eight units. Comparatively, the Red Cross assisted a total of thirty-nine people during the same time period in 2012.
“Sadly, our fire response activity for beginning of 2013 has spiked dramatically over the same timeframe last year,” said Eva Coffey, Director, Red Cross Chapter Emergency Operations – North Georgia. “It’s vital for all families to plan for a potential fire, and the good news is that it doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or training,” said Coffey.
Fire Prevention Tips
To prevent home fires, the Red Cross recommends that you use the following fire safety tips---
• Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
• Stay in the home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food. Check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.
• Keep anything that can catch fire—like pot holders, towels, plastic and clothing— away from the stove.
• Keep all potential fuel sources, including newspapers, matches, clothing and bedding, at least three feet away from heat sources such as a space heater or fireplace.
• Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how, when and where to safely use heating equipment, such as space heaters and water heaters.
In addition, the Red Cross recommends that a fire escape plan include at least two escape routes for every room in the home, and a convenient meeting place at a safe distance from the fire. Escape ladders should be stored near windows in floors above ground level, and all family members should know how to use the ladders safely. Families should practice their escape plan at least twice a year.
“Colder weather has settled in and, unfortunately, we expect the incidence of home fires to continue,” said Coffey. “We’re hoping that we can spare many families the painful experience of home fires by sharing some basic safety information now.”
Home fires are the most common disaster that the Atlanta Red Cross responds to, on average three to four per day. Disaster volunteers are on call twenty-four hours a day to respond and assist those with disaster-caused needs.
For a comprehensive list of fire safety tips go to www.redcross.org/atlanta.
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 join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.