COLUMBIA, S.C., Monday, Jan. 27 – The American Red Cross responded to 20 home fires over the past 72 hours assisting 78 individuals in the Palmetto SC Region including home fires in Orangeburg and Richland counties. The Central SC Chapter assisted 17 people displaced by fire.
With severe cold and winter weather heading our way, the Red Cross is stressing the importance of cold and fire safety while trying to stay warm.
“Forecasts are showing the chance for winter weather this week, including ice,” said Bill Cronin, executive director of the Central SC Red Cross chapter. “We are encouraging everyone to please use caution when heating their homes.”
With heating systems running at full force many people are resorting to other sources to keep their homes warm, the Red Cross is urging these cold and fire safety tips:
Fire Safety Tips:
• Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.
• If 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 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.
• Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment someone wants to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIPS:
Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
• Someone should seek medical attention immediately if they have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
• Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
• Don’t forget family pets – bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
• Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
• Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.
• Download the Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores.
Because of trained disaster volunteers and financial assistance from the community, Red Cross has been able to help more than 2,700 people affected by disasters in the Palmetto SC region since July 1, 2013. 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.
Anyone interested in making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross can visit www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. Donations may also be mailed to the American Red Cross Central SC Chapter at P.O. Box 91, Columbia, SC 29202 or by calling 540-1200.
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.