Volunteers with the Disaster Action Team were busy responding to home fires this past week. From November 9 through today, Red Cross volunteers responded to 18 home fires across Chicagoland, including incidents in Justice, Elgin and Chicago, where 15 of these home fires took place and sadly one these incidents resulted in the loss of a life.
The Red Cross helped 96 individuals, including 69 adults and 27 children with temporary emergency lodging, health and mental health services, financial assistance and recovery planning.
If you need assistance after a home fire or disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747. TWO STEPS TO PREVENT FIRE TRAGEDIES To help protect your family year-round, test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can escape in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).
In addition, the Red Cross urges everyone to safely heat their home to avoid home fires as cold temperatures often bring the risk of home heating fires.
Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires
A 2020 Red Cross survey showed that more than half of us have used a space heater — which is involved in most fatal home heating fires. Provide at least three feet of space for all heating equipment, and never leave space heaters unattended. Follow these additional tips:
- If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor. Don’t place it on rugs and carpets, or near bedding and drapes; keep away children and pets.
- Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets — never into an extension cord. Turn it off every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
- Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.
Emergencies Don’t Stop! Volunteers Still Needed
More than 8,000 volunteers, including nearly 200 from the Illinois region have worked tirelessly to assist thousands of people impacted by wildfires in the West and back to back hurricanes in the South. The Red Cross continues to be there to help these communities in their recovery.
If you’d like to join our team of dedicated volunteers, please visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to find out more about opportunities, including the most-needed positions:
- Shelter Service – These volunteers help support emergency shelters by staffing different areas including reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks. We have both associate and supervisory level opportunities available.
- Disaster Health Services - We need volunteers who can work in emergency shelters to help assess people’s health and provide hands-on care in alignment with their professional licensure (RN and LPN/LVN). We also need volunteers who can provide care as delegated by a licensed nurse in shelters; this could include assisting with activities of daily living, personal assistance services, providing health education and helping to replace medications, durable medical equipment or consumable medical supplies.
- Blood Donor Ambassador - These volunteers welcome visitors to Red Cross facilities or blood drives and take their temperature before they enter. Visitors could include potential blood donors, people seeking help, course participants, and Red Cross employees and volunteers.
You can also find virtual volunteer opportunities at redcross.org/volunteertoday.
These are other ways that you can support those impacted by disasters:
- Make a Donation at redcross.org, calling 800-RED-CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
- Donate Blood please schedule an appointment to donate by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 800-RED-CROSS.
About the American Red Cross of Illinois
The American Red Cross of Illinois serves 12.4 million people in 88 counties in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri including Adams, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cook, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, De Witt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Green, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Williamson Winnebago, Woodford. Iowa: Lee, Muscatine, Scott and Van Buren. Missouri: Clark, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. 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 us at Redcross.org/Illinois or visit us on Twitter @RedCrossIL.