Red Cross volunteers responded to 9 home fires across South Central Illinois from December 27 through today. Volunteers responded to incidents in Leansboro, Springfield, Centralia, Riverton, Tuscola, Paris, Decatur and more.
During this past week, the American Red Cross provided assistance to 28 individuals, including 15 adults and 13 children with a temporary place to stay, emergency financial assistance, food, relief items like toiletries, health and mental health services, and one-on-one support to connect people to available recovery assistance.
If you or someone you know needs assistance after a home fire or local disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747.
Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster. Help keep your family safe by testing your smoke alarms and practicing your two-minute home fire escape drill — the amount of time that experts say you may have to get out before it’s too late. Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like and talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency.
For more information about home fire safety, please visit redcross.org/fire. Download our free Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores or go to redcross.org/apps). Children can also learn what to do during a home fire and other emergencies with free resources at redcross.org/YouthPrep.
Cold Weather Safety Tips
As temperatures continue to drop for the rest of the week, the Red Cross has the following winter safety tips:
Out in the Cold
- Be aware of the wind chill. Avoid staying in the cold too long.
- Wear layers of clothing to stay warm, along with a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry. Avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body to the cold.
- Be careful when tackling strenuous tasks like shoveling snow in cold temperatures. Take frequent breaks from the cold.
- Drink plenty of warm fluids or warm water but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Get out of the cold immediately if the signs of hypothermia and frostbite appear.
- Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
- Bring family pets indoors. If that’s not possible, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they can get to unfrozen water.
- Prevent frozen pipes. Open cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around water pipes. Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.
- Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home. Keep a glass or metal fire screen around the fireplace and never leave a fireplace fire unattended.
- If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface. Turn the space heater off when leaving the room or going to sleep. Keep children and pets away from the space heater and do not use it to dry wet clothing.
- If the power goes out, use generators correctly. Never operate a generator inside the home, including the basement or garage. Do not hook up a generator directly to the home's wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment needed directly to the outlets on the generator.
On the road
- Stay off the road during severe weather, if possible.
- Carry an emergency preparedness kit in the trunk.
- Keep the car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road.
- Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
- Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
- Don’t pass snow plows.
- Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.
EMERGENCY APP People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to safety tips for winter weather and power outages. The app can be found in the app store for someone’s mobile device by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to redcross.org/apps.
Blood drive safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.
Save time during donation
Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.
Health insights for donors
At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.
Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
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.