NEW ORLEANS, LA., July 9, 2014 – Home fires are the most common disaster that the American Red Cross responds to, and local Red Cross responders this past week have been especially busy.
Since July 4, the Southeast Louisiana Chapter of the American Red Cross has responded to nine home and apartment fires assisting more than 60 people by providing food, clothing, comfort kits, medical needs and shelter. Red Cross caseworkers will continue working with the residents to connect them with resources, information and support for their long-term recovery.
Early Wednesday morning (July 9), Red Cross disaster volunteers arrived at a New Orleans apartment fire in the Uptown area, where five families were left homeless. The Red Cross provided each family with comfort kits, food, clothing and lodging. Volunteers also remained on the scene to provide snacks and refreshments to the first responders fighting the fire in the July heat.
On Monday (July 7), volunteers responded to house fires in Harvey and New Orleans. Volunteers responded to a fire at the Lafourche Sugar Bunk House in Thibodaux that affected 15 adults and two children. Later that afternoon volunteers provided snacks and refreshments to firefighters battling a two-alarm fire at a strip mall in New Orleans’ Lakeview neighborhood.
On Saturday (July 5), disaster volunteers responded to a house fire in Marrero and provided assistance for the family's emergency-related needs.
On Friday, July 4, volunteers helped six families: two families that experienced home fires and four families displaced by fire at the Wind Run Apartment complex in New Orleans East.
“Disasters can strike at any time and being prepared is a family’s best defense,” said Kay W. Wilkins, CEO of the American Red Cross South Louisiana Region. “Making a plan and using the American Red Cross preparedness apps through iPhone or Android devices are an important step in making sure all household members know what to do in an emergency.”
No matter where the emergency occurs, or how large the disaster, the Red Cross is prepared to respond. Trained disaster volunteers across the region are ready to lend a hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Red Cross responds to a residential fire about every seven hours in South Louisiana. Home fires are the biggest disaster threat Americans face, and the Red Cross wants people to know what steps to take to be safer if a fire should occur in their home.
Remember basic fire safety tips:
If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL for help.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test them every month and replace the batteries at least once a year. Talk with all household members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
· Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
· Never smoke in bed.
· Talk to your children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters – and keep them out of reach.
· Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
Create and practice your fire escape:
· Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home.
· Make sure everyone knows where to meet outside in case of fire.
· Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 911.
· Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
HOW YOU CAN HELP A donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief can help provide shelter for someone who has had to leave their home, food and water for them to eat, a warm blanket on a cold night. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org/NewOrleans call 504-620-3105 or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
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/NewOrleans or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossSELA.