COLUMBIA, S.C., Friday, Jan. 3 – The American Red Cross Palmetto SC Region has responded to 26 home fires this week, providing disaster relief assistance to 106 individuals. The Red Cross provided the displaced families with comfort kits which included personal hygiene items and funds for lodging and food along with referrals to local partnering agencies.
“With an expected cold snap this week we may see an increase in home fires,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross, Palmetto SC Region. “We need the community’s help with not only prevention of home fires, but with our efforts to help victims of fires.”
With more cold weather on the way next week and heating systems are running at full force many people are resorting to other sources to keep their homes warm, the Red Cross is offering these fire safety tips:
• Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
• If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
• If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
• Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
To prevent kitchen fires remember the following:
• Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
• Enforce a “kid-free zone” in the cooking area and make children stay at least three feet away from the stove.
• Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stove, oven or any appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
• Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
• Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department to receive training on the proper use of extinguishers.
People should also download the free American Red Cross First Aid app, which provides instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies. The apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.
People can test their knowledge on how to prevent home fires by taking the Fire Safety Quiz, and can learn more about fire prevention by visiting www.redcross.org.
Because of trained disaster volunteers and financial assistance from the community, Red Cross has been able to help more than 2,400 individuals and 700 families affected by disasters in the Palmetto SC region since the first six months of its fiscal year. On average, the American Red Cross, Palmetto SC Region responds to a disaster every 6.5 hours. The Palmetto SC Region is made up of seven Red Cross chapters spanning 35-counties of South Carolina.
It takes $1,250 to support a family of four impacted by fire. Anyone interested in making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross can visit www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
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 Redcross.org.