Every year the American Red Cross responds to about 70,000 disasters across the country, many of them fires which have damaged or destroyed someone’s home.
Home fires are the biggest disaster threat to people in this country – worse than floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. Every day, the Red Cross responds to as many as 170 home fires – that’s one fire every nine minutes.
During cold weather, the number of home fires often rises as people turn up their thermostats to stay warm or resort to using alternate heating methods to cut down on costs. The New Year is proving to be no different, with Red Cross chapters responding to numerous home fires in the first week of January already.
Earlier this month, Red Cross disaster workers responded in Stone Mountain, Georgia, where fire destroyed eight apartments, leaving several families homeless. In West Warwick, Rhode Island, fire left 31 people homeless after destroying multiple units in another apartment complex.
The Red Cross offers the following safety tips on how to prevent fires:
Smoke alarms save lives. People should:
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 the 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.
For more information on what you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe, visit the “Home Fires” section of our website.