Volunteers with the American Red Cross of Northwest Illinois helped nine individuals impacted by home fires from January 18 through today. Our volunteers responded to four incidents in DeKalb, Rockford and Somonauk.
Red Cross volunteers with the Disaster Action Team provided temporary housing, health and mental health services, financial assistance, and information about recovery planning to four adults and five children impacted by these incidents.
Home fires claim more lives than all natural disasters combined every year. 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. Central & Southern Illinois dispatch line: 1-844-319-6560.
Winter Weather Safety Tips
Beginning today, snow, freezing rain and windy conditions will be impacting our region. Here are some winter weather safety tips from the Red Cross:
WINTER TRAVEL SAFETY
Stay off the road if possible, during severe weather. If you must drive in winter weather, follow these tips:
· 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.
· Ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.
· If you become stranded, stay in the vehicle and wait to help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters). You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
· Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the vehicle.
· Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of sow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
· Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
STAY SAFE OUTSIDE
· Wear layers of clothing, a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots.
· When shoveling snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances of muscle injury.
· Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a vehicle, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.
· Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
· Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
· Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion, and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration or waxy feeling skin.
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.