Volunteers with the Disaster Action Team have been busy assisting people impacted by home fires across Chicagoland. From September 28 to today, our volunteers responded to 18 incidents in Berwyn, Harvey, Kankakee, McHenry and more, with 12 of these home fires occurring in Chicago. Sadly, two of these incidents resulted in the loss of lives.
This past Friday, our volunteers also responded to a multi-unit apartment building in Woodbridge and provided assistance to 18 people displaced, including four children. In total, the Red Cross helped 83 individuals, including 53 adults and 30 children with a temporary place to stay, health and disaster mental health services and information about resources to help with their recovery.
Unfortunately, home fires haven’t stopped during COVID-19, and neither has the need to prevent fire tragedies. During Fire Prevention Week through October 10, we recommend testing your smoke alarms and practicing your escape plan. These simple steps can help protect you and your loved ones in the event of a fire.
The nation’s most frequent disaster, home fires are most often caused by cooking, according to the National Fire Protection Association, which is sponsoring Fire Prevention Week with the theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!”
RED CROSS SURVEY: MOST OF US ARE UNDERPREPARED Home fires claim seven lives a day in the U.S., but a new 2020 national Red Cross survey shows most of us aren’t taking the steps to protect ourselves.
- Testing your smoke alarms each month helps ensure that they’re working — which can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Still, 65% of us don’t.
- Practicing your escape plan twice a year also increases the odds of survival. But 70% of us don’t.
- Escaping in less than two minutes can be the difference between survival and tragedy, according to fire experts. Yet more than half of us think we have more time.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY During Fire Prevention Week, test your smoke alarms and practice your escape plan until everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information or download the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).
Test your smoke alarms monthly.
- Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
- Change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.
- Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they need to be replaced because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes.
- Include at least two ways to exit every room in your home.
- Select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone knows to meet.
- Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like. Talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency.
You can also find out more information about home fire safety by visiting, redcross.org/fire. If you need assistance after a local house fire or disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747.
Every year, the Red Cross responds to an average of more than 60,000 disasters, the vast majority of which are home fires. You can help people affected by disasters big and small:
- Become a volunteer with the Red Cross and make a significant impact in your community and the lives of so many affected by disasters. Sign up today at redcross.org/volunteer.
- Make a Donation as the Red Cross is working 24-7 to respond to disasters like wildfires, tropical storms and countless other crises. Please donate to help now by visiting redcross.org, calling 800-RED-CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
- Donate Blood please schedule an appointment to donate by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 800-RED-CROSS. This month’s wildfires out west and Hurricane Sally have forced the cancellation of hundreds of blood drives, resulting in thousands of uncollected blood and platelet donations.
About the American Red Cross Home Fire Safety Survey:
These findings are from a CARAVAN® Survey conducted by ENGINE INSIGHTS on January 10-12, 2020 on behalf of the American Red Cross. For the survey, a demographically representative sample of 1,004 adults ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The precision of a CARAVAN survey can be measured using a margin of error calculation. In this case, the poll has a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points for all respondents surveyed.
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.