Local Red Cross Volunteers Respond to Brush and Home Fires Across Central Texas

AUSTIN, Texas, August 8, 2012 — Overnight and this morning the American Red Cross Central Texas Region has assisted nine families displaced by fires in Austin and Killeen. Overnight, a brush fire near Killeen burned more than 50 acres and destroyed four mobile homes, and this morning, a fire in Northwest Austin displaced six families after power was shut off for all the connected units. During the past month, Red Cross workers have responded to more than one fire every day on average across the Central Texas Region. The threat of fire is high, and everyone is encouraged to take action now to prepare their families and communities.

“We each have the power to make our families safer,” said Marty McKellips, CEO, American Red Cross Central Texas Region. “There is no better time to get a kit, make a plan, and become better informed than right now.”

The Red Cross suggests that everyone make personal preparedness a priority and offers a variety of tips, including:

• Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.

• Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.

• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

• Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.

• Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a new battery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.

• Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

• Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home.

• Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.

• Create a preparedness kit for your family with emergency supplies and important personal items and documents.

More preparedness information on making a plan and a preparedness kit is available on our Fire Preparedness & Prevention page.

Central Texans who wish to make a financial contribution to the American Red Cross Central Texas Region can call 800 or 512-928-4271, send a financial contribution to 2218 Pershing Drive, Austin, 78723 or make a secure online donation at www.centex.redcross.org. For information on Red Cross services or volunteer opportunities please call 800 or 512-928-4271 or visit www.centex.redcross.org.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.