AIKEN, S.C., Tuesday, March 4 – While January was a busy month for the American Red Cross Palmetto SC Region responding to home fires, February was just as busy. The Red Cross assisted 449 people displaced after 145 home fires in February, a 23 percent increase in fires for the same time last year.
“February was a busy month for the American Red Cross with winter storms and home fires,” said Derek Dugan, Aiken Area Chapter Executive Director. “We could not assist so many without the generous support of our donors, and we continue to need the community’s support to help so many displaced after home fires.”
After a fire the American Red Cross assists with emergency needs of those impacted including temporary lodging, food, essential hygiene items, health services, and emotional support people may need as they recover from a home fire. Peak fire season runs from October through March.
As cold air grips the state again this week, the Red Cross is offering these fire prevention 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.
Learn more about fire safety by visiting: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/home-fire
The Red Cross needs community’s support for victims of home fires and other disasters. It takes and average of $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 or by contacting their local Red Cross chapter at 803-641-4152.
Because of trained disaster volunteers and financial assistance from the community, Red Cross has been able to help more than 1,000 people affected by disasters in the Palmetto SC region since Jan. 1. 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.
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.