During the winter, and when the weather gets extremely cold there is an increase in home fires. Just this last week, Red Cross volunteers with the Disaster Action Team responded to seven home fires and provided helped to 17 individuals impacted by incidents in Chrisman, Decatur, Eagarville, Mount Vernon, Newton and West Frankfort.
Our volunteers provided 14 adults and three children with a safe place to stay, health and disaster mental health services, financial assistance and information about recovery services.
Additionally, on February 11 the Red Cross provided canteen services to firefighters responding to a shed fire in Okawville.
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: 1-844-319-6560.
Residents continue to face sub-zero temperatures as more snow is expected in the area. The American Red Cross has safety tips to help you prepare and deal with this winter weather.
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.
Find more winter weather safety information here.
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.
Red Cross Volunteer Recruitment Open House Series
We are actively recruiting for Blood Donor Ambassadors and Blood Transportation Specialists, Virtual DAT Team members and Duty Officers/Dispatchers, and Disaster Caseworkers, and Volunteer Recruitment Team Members.
All sessions will be held on the third Thursday of the month, from 5:30 p.m. -6:30 p.m. on February 18, March 18, April 15, May 20, June 17. Register for an open house here: tinyurl.com/RC-Illinois
Hear an overview of the Red Cross Mission, our lines of service, the Illinois Region, and give more information about the positions we are actively recruiting for at the time. Explain how to sign up/apply, then open it up for Q&A. Please visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to find out more about volunteer opportunities.
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.