The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping, signs many people are turning the heat back on in their homes. It’s also the time of year when the number of home fires goes up, often times caused by the use of alternate heating methods. The American Red Cross has steps people should follow as they get their homes ready for cooler weather.
“It’s important to take steps now to get your home ready for cooler weather,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional CEO for the Palmetto SC Region of the Red Cross. “In South Carolina the Red Cross responds to a home fire six times a day and by following a few easy steps, you and your family can lessen your chances of a home fire this winter.”
HOME HEATING SAFETY Have furnaces, chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves inspected and cleaned before another winter of use. Test batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Other good steps to take to get one’s home ready for winter include:
SPACE HEATERS Nearly half of the households in this country use alternative heating sources such as space heaters, fireplaces, or wood/coal stoves to stay warm. Fixed and portable space heaters, including wood stoves, are involved in 74 percent of fire-related deaths.
If someone is using a space heater, the Red Cross recommends that people look for a model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over. Space heaters should be placed on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home. Other safety tips include:
Download the free Red Cross Emergency App at redcross.org/apps for more heating safety and winter storm tips.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN The Red Cross and its partners have undertaken an effort to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25%. The Home Fire Campaign began in 2014 and is already responsible for saving more than 110 lives, 11 of these in South Carolina.
Working with fire departments and community groups across South Carolina, the Red Cross is installing smoke alarms in homes in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching residents about fire prevention and preparedness. The Red Cross is calling on everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: create and practice their home fire escape plan and check their smoke alarms.
Here in South Carolina, more than 38,000 smoke alarms have been installed across the state by the Red Cross and its partners and more than 5,000 children have been reached through youth preparedness education programs, such as The Pillowcase Project.
To learn more about the campaign and home fire safety, visit redcross.org/homefires.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/SC or @RedCrossSC.