The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois continues to help up to 25 people, two of them are children, affected by an explosion in a townhome complex last night on Stawflower Court in Romeoville. Red Cross volunteers are providing immediate disaster relief, including a safe place to stay, food, and emotional support for up to 13 families.
“Home fires can be a threat because they happen so quickly, as families with children experienced last night in Romeoville,” said Celena Roldán, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “As our volunteers continue to care for the families and provide for their immediate needs to cope and recover, National Fire Prevention Week is a reminder for all residents in our community to learn what they should do in the event of a fire in their home.”
Members of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team, a group of specially trained volunteers who respond to disasters like home fires any time of the day or night, arrived on the scene last evening around 9:00 p.m. They immediately started working with families to make sure they had a place to sleep last night. Throughout the night and into early this morning, volunteers met with 13 families at the West Park community center to determine their immediate needs, such as housing, food, and any health services such as medication replacement.
The Red Cross is currently assisting up to 25 people, two of them are children, and more may be identified who need help with disaster relief. Mental health services teams are also assisting families with emotional support to help them cope with this traumatic event. Volunteers were also on the scene last night through this morning with a canteen truck to provide water and snacks to aid the first responders.
The Red Cross responds to 3 to 4 home fires every day in northern Illinois. Since Sept. 1, the Red Cross responded to more than 125 home fires in 21 counties and assisted up to 530 people.
This week during Fire Prevention Week Oct. 10-14, the Red Cross is asking every household to take some simple steps that can help prevent home fires and save lives.
INSTALL AND TEST SMOKE ALARMS Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half:
• Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms.
• Test smoke alarms once a month.
• Change the batteries at least once a year – if your model requires it.
• Replace smoke alarms every ten years.
MAKE A PLAN People may only have two minutes to escape when a fire occurs. The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year. Everyone should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a safe place to meet outside the home in case of a fire. Discuss the plan with all household members and practice it until everyone – including children – can escape in less than two minutes.
DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross Emergency App includes content on how to prevent home fires and what to do if one occurs. Parents can download the Monster Guard App to help their children learn what to do and how to protect themselves. Both apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or by going to redcross.org/apps.
JOIN THE RED CROSS HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN The American Red Cross and partners across the country have set a goal to install 45,000 smoke alarms in homes during the month of October as part of the ongoing Red Cross Home Fire Campaign. The multi-year campaign kicked off in October of 2014 with a goal to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent during the five years of the campaign. Working with fire departments and community groups across the entire country, the Red Cross installs smoke alarms in homes in neighborhoods at high risk for home fires. In the last two years, more than half a million smoke alarms have been installed as part of the Home Fire Campaign.
People can join the Red Cross effort to save lives, reduce injuries and cut down on needless losses from home fires by making a financial donation to the Home Fire Campaign by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800 REDCROSS or texting FIRE to 90999. Their gift to Home Fires enables the Red Cross to provide critical services to people impacted by home fires along with the lifesaving tools and information to support home fire prevention efforts. People can also help by becoming a Red Cross volunteer. Additional information on home fire safety and the Home Fire Campaign is available at redcross.org/homefires.
The Red Cross also partners with a wide variety of partners that support the Fire is Everyone's Fight initiative to work together and reduce home fire deaths and injuries.
About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. 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 us at redcross.org/il/chicago or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.