As of early this morning, Red Cross volunteers are providing assistance to approximately 38 people displaced by a fire at a residential hotel in Melrose Park. Our volunteers have been working hard since early this morning helping families impacted with a temporary place to stay, meals, health and disaster mental health services. In the days to come, the American Red Cross will work with those affected to assist them with recovery planning.
Over the past week, volunteers Red Cross volunteers have helped 64 individuals impacted by home fires across Chicagoland, including 46 adults and 18 children. Our volunteers provided a safe place to stay, health and disaster mental health services, financial assistance and information about recovery services to those impacted.
This week as the cold escalated volunteers responded to a total of 27 home fires, including incidents in Burbank, Chicago, Elgin, Palos Hills and more. Four of these home fires sadly resulted in the loss of lives.
During the winter, and when the weather gets extremely cold there is 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.
Important Home Fire Safety Tips
Nearly all of us have engaged in ordinary activities that can cause home fires. Here are a few home fire safety tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe:
- Never leave cooking food unattended. If you need to leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you must use candles, keep them away from anything that could burn, and place them out of reach from pets and children. Never leave burning candles unattended.
A 2020 national Red Cross survey showed than 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 on HOW TO HEAT YOUR HOME SAFELY:
- 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.
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.
Extreme Cold Weather – Please find winter weather safety tips Here. 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.