With the decrease in temperatures, the Red Cross has seen an increase in home fires throughout South Carolina. Since Monday, when the cold first hit, the Red Cross has responded to more than 40 home fires, assisting more than 150 people with their immediate needs, including lodging, food, clothing, and comfort kits. The number of people assisted is continuing to increase.
“Above all else, we want people to be warm and safe,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional chief executive officer of the American Red Cross in South Carolina. “Please remember to check on your friends and neighbors and reach out if you or they need assistance.”
Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires. Heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces or wood and coal stoves can pose a fire hazards. Fatal fires peak in the early morning hours when most people are sleeping. As families turn to alternative heating sources to supplement their home heating systems, they should take the following precautions.
If you or someone you know needs assistance in ensuring that safe heating practices are being followed, contact your local American Red Cross office or fire department.
In addition to responding to the home fires, the American Red Cross is working with county emergency management offices to support shelters and warming centers around the state. An easy way to find an open shelter is to download the free Red Cross Shelter Finder App. The app displays open Red Cross shelters on an easy to use map interface and is updated every 30 minutes. More information on the app is available at http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/shelter-finder-app.
In South Carolina, the American Red Cross, on average, responds to a disaster every four hours. Because of volunteers and financial assistance from the community, the Red Cross was able to help more than 7,000 individuals affected by disasters in South Carolina last year.
To help neighbors affected by disasters, become a Red Cross volunteer or make a financial contribution to Red Cross by calling 843-764-2323 or visiting www.redcross.org. For more preparedness tips follow us on Twitter at @RedCrossSC.