Home fires are the biggest disaster threat to people in this country – worse than floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. Last week, while hurricanes and wildfires dominated national headlines, in central Illinois, the Illinois Capital Area Chapter responded to a rash of home fires affecting 26 people.
From Coles County up to Logan to Sangamon down to Macoupin, home fires devoured cherish memories and belongings of 8 central Illinois families. Thankfully, the Red Cross was prepared to respond efficiently and effectively, letting these families know they were not alone.
“Trained disaster volunteers are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide vital assistance to local families that suddenly find themselves homeless,” said Colleen Stone, Chief Executive Officer of the Illinois Capital Area Chapter. “The Red Cross provides for a family’s emergency disaster caused needs such as food, clothing, shelter and emotional support.”
While the Red Cross does not know the cause in each of these fires, in some cases, they could have been prevented.
“We’re deeply saddened for the loss these families have suffered, but at the same time are so thankful there have been no injuries,” continued Stone. “As we continue to provide support to those affected, we also encourage everyone to take action to minimize the risk of a fire in their own home.”
The Red Cross recommends installing smoke alarms on each level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside of sleeping areas. Use the test button to test each smoke alarm once a month. All smoke alarm batteries need to be replaced once a year. Every family should have a fire escape plan that includes at least two escape routes and chose a convenient meeting place at a safe distance from your home. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
For more fire prevention and safety tips, visit http://arcillinois.org/tip-library.