Red Cross volunteers responded to 21 home fires across Chicagoland from November 29 through today. Volunteers with the Disaster Action Team assisted residents impacted by home fires in Aurora, Grayslake, Harvey, Matteson, Melrose Park and more, including Chicago where 10 of these incidents occurred.
In the past week, Red Cross volunteers helped 105 individuals, including 72 adults and 33 children with temporary emergency housing, health services, disaster mental health services, financial assistance and information about recovery planning.
Ten of these home fires took place in multi-unit apartment buildings. Although apartment and condo buildings are more likely to have sprinkler systems and fire alarms, it’s critical to have a fire escape plan and working smoke alarms in your unit.
HOW TO STAY SAFE Residents can follow these tips to help stay safe:
- Learn the building’s fire safety features, including fire alarms, sprinklers and evacuation plans.
- Make sure all exits are clearly marked and not blocked.
- Know locations of all available exit stairwells, as one or more of the exits might be blocked by fire.
- Individuals with access or functional needs, including a disability, should learn where the closest area of safe refuge is.
- Identify a meeting place for members of your household that is outside and away from the building.
- Talk to your apartment management if you have concerns about alarms or sprinklers in your unit.
- If smoke or fire enters your unit and you cannot immediately escape, call 9-1-1 to report your locations. Open a window slightly; wave a bright cloth or a light at night to identify your location. If smoke enters the unit, stay low to the floor to breathe the best air.
If you or someone you know needs assistance after a home fire or local disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747.
Cold Weather and Heating Safety
Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires – a risk that increases with cold weather. Help keep your family safe by providing at least three feet of space for all heating equipment.
- This is critical because most home heating fire tragedies occur when flammable items like furniture, rugs and drapes are too close.
- In addition, never leave space heaters unattended – as they’re involved in most fatal home heating fires.
- 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. And turn it off every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
- You can also help your family stay safe by testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your two-minute home fire escape drill.
Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also 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.
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.