Red Cross Responds to a Dozen Fires in 72 Hours

Dozen Fires in 72 hours

OMAHA, NEB., Monday, December 09, 2013 —The American Red Cross is assisting more than 48 people today, after flames damaged their homes over the weekend. Since Friday night, more than 30 well-trained disaster action team workers, braved the dangerous cold air to help homeowners and firefighters across Nebraska and Southwest Iowa. The Red Cross answered calls for help in: Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, Lexington, Grand Island, Hickman, Talmage, Nebraska and responded to fires in Pisgah and Council Bluffs in Iowa. Our compassionate disaster action team workers also comforted those who were impacted and gave them hope for recovery.

The Red Cross urges families to be cautious when using space heaters and other heating sources, and to make a plan in case of a home fire. Heating sources are the leading cause of winter fires, and increase during the winter months of December, January and February.

Heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces or wood and coal stoves can pose a fire hazard. To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross recommends keeping anything that can burn such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment and fireplaces and to never leave these unattended.

The American Red Cross offers the following fire prevention tips:

  • All heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned if necessary.
  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.
  • You can help people affected by disasters such as floods, tornadoes, fires and hurricanes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. To make a donation, visit redcross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

    For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information visit www.redcross.org/homefires.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.