Recent fires force 21 families, 60 people, from their homes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE… (Burlington, Vermont – December 18, 2013) Families from Derby to Bennington and too many communities in between have been in need of American Red Cross services recently. In fact, Red Cross volunteers have been called upon fourteen times just since Thanksgiving. That statistic only begins to tell the story. Behind that number are the 21 families and 60 people who were forced from their homes. With winter yet to officially begin, the Red Cross is imploring the people of our region to keep safe through the use of caution and planning.
The disaster most likely to befall someone in our region is fire. It strikes nearly 1,000 times a day across our country. What makes fire so dangerous is that it strikes quickly and without warning. Chief among those things the Vermont & the New Hampshire Upper Valley American Red Cross is asking people to do are the following:
- Smoke detectors – The bottom line is smoke detectors save lives. Change batteries regularly, test them monthly and ensure they are on each level of your home.
- Have a plan and practice it -- Engage your entire family in creating a plan of what you would do if fire strikes. Identify two ways out of your home. Establish a meeting point outside the home. Practice that plan twice a year.
- Caution with portable heaters, stoves and fireplaces – Keep anything combustible at least three feet away, including bedding, rugs, clothing and paper. Never leave portable heaters or stoves unattended. Turn off space heaters and ensure embers from a fire are extinguished.
- Maintain heating sources – Have wood and pellet stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces inspected and cleaned regularly, once a year if at all possible.
These tips are the starting point for a family looking to keep themselves safe from fire. To learn more, the Red Cross urges people to visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/home-fire for a great deal more information.
Regrettably, this recent spate of fires is what we often see in the winter months. While called upon close to 180 times this past year in the wake of disaster, 90% of those being house and apartment fires, a majority of those calls for help come during the colder months of November to April.
In order to answer each call for help, the American Red Cross relies upon the generosity of donors and the dedication and compassion of its volunteers. To help ensure that the resources, both financial and volunteer, are ready when needed across the Vermont & the New Hampshire Upper Valley Region, we urge people to go to www.redcross.org/vermont to learn how they can help.
In addition, financial contributions to help people affected by fires as well as other devastating disasters can also be directed to our regional headquarters at 29 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401 or by calling 802-660-9130, ext. 111.