ATLANTA, January 6, 2015 - While Atlantans reveled in year-end holiday festivities and enjoyed time with family and friends, Metro Atlanta Red Cross volunteers were responding to 53 home fires, providing emergency assistance to just over 150 people. This represents a 60% increase in fire response activity over the previous year (December 19, 2013 - January 4, 2014), when Red Cross volunteers responded to 33 disasters.
An increase in Red Cross holiday fire responses also occurred statewide this holiday season. Volunteers responded to 154 home fires in Georgia and provided emergency assistance to nearly 500 people, a 10% increase in responses over the previous year. Red Cross volunteers are on call, 24-hours-a- day, to respond to and meet the emergency needs of disaster victims in local communities.
“We typically see a spike in home fires during the year-end holiday period,” said Eric Corliss, Regional Disaster Officer for the American Red Cross of Georgia. “In each instance, we provided families with emergency support ranging from food and clothing to temporary lodging and financial assistance.”
THE “WHY” OF THE INCREASE IN WINTER FIRES
Heating sources are the leading cause of winter fires and usage increases during the winter months of December, January and February. Heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces or wood and coal stoves can pose a fire hazard. To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross recommends keeping anything that can burn such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment and fireplaces and to never leave these unattended. Click here for more home fire prevention tips and information.
CURBING DEATHS AND INJURIES FROM HOME FIRES
Because of the high number of home fires in this country, the Red Cross launched a campaign this year to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. The organization is asking every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home. Since the campaign launched in October, the Red Cross—in partnership with fire departments and community groups nationwide—has already reached more than 29,000 people by installing 17,000 smoke alarms. These efforts have already saved five lives nationwide. In Georgia, we’ve reached 575 people by installing 224 smoke alarms.
OUR WORK IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE GENEROSITY OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC
You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables us to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.
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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.