Volunteer disaster responders with the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois responded to 35 fires from Monday, November 4 through today in the Chicago & Northern Illinois area including fires in Bolingbrook, Crestwood, Joliet, Naperville, Maywood, Rockford and more, with 21 of these fires taking place in Chicago.
The Red Cross helped 175 individuals, including 121 adults and 54 children. Our volunteers provided assistance with temporary housing, food, clothing and comfort kits with toiletry items, information about recovery services and health and mental health services.
The American Red Cross responds to 3 to 4 home fires every day in Chicago and Northern Illinois. The Red Cross recommends two easy steps to help protect your home and loved ones from a fire: get a smoke alarm and create a fire escape plan. The Red Cross installs FREE smoke alarms year-round. To schedule an appointment to get a free installation in your home, visit www.getasmokealarm.org.
Heating fires are the second cost of home fires. As temperatures continue to drop, the American Red Cross have tips to help you and your family stay safe:
- If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes.
- When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over as another safety measure.
- Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
- Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended.
- Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
- Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
- Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces professionally inspected and cleaned once a year. Find more information about home fire prevention and safety tips here.
In addition, the Red Cross has some winter safety driving tips:
- Winterize your vehicle and keep
the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Clean the lights and windows to help you see.
- If you can, avoid driving in sleet, freezing rain, snow or dense fog. If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- If you have to travel, keep a disaster supplies kit in the car.
- 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 the snow plow truck.
- Find out what the weather is where you are traveling. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route. Learn more about winter safety tips here.
About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. 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/IL/chicago or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.