Volunteers with the Disaster Action Team assisted 98 individuals affected by home fires in Chicagoland from January 25 through today. Volunteers with the American Red Cross responded to 25 incidents in Aurora, Chicago, Country Club Hills, Elgin, Hickory Hill, Saint Anne and Sauk Village. This includes home fires that sadly resulted in the loss of lives.
The Red Cross provided temporary housing, health and mental health services, financial assistance, and information about recovery planning to 65 adults and 33 children impacted by these incidents.
As the weather gets colder, we see an increase in home fires. A fire can take a home in as little as two minutes. Therefore, escaping in less than two minutes can be the difference between survival and tragedy. The Red Cross encourages everyone to talk to their children about fire safety to help families stay safe. We want to ensure families and children are prepared.
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.
For free home fire safety resources, including an escape plan, visit redcross.org/fire or download the free Red Cross Emergency App. In addition, the free Monster Guard app teaches children how to prepare for emergencies by playing an engaging game. Download the apps by searching “American Red Cross” in app stores or going to redcross.org/apps.
If you need assistance after a home fire or disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747.
Winter Weather Safety
The weather is turning dangerously cold as temperatures will continue to drop for the rest of the week. Here are a few tips from the Red Cross to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
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. Don’t place it on rugs and carpets, or near bedding and drapes. Keep children and pets away from the space heater and do not use it to dry wet clothing. Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets – never into an extension cord. Turn the space heater off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
- 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 sever 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 snowplows.
- Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.
For information about warming centers in the City of Chicago, call 311.
DOWNLOAD APPS People can download the Red Cross Free bilingual Emergency App (English/Spanish) for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.
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.