Red Cross volunteers have been busy responding to 41 home fires from August 2 through today in Antioch, Berwyn, Lynwood, Orland Park, Peru, Zion and more, including Chicago where 23 of these incidents occurred.
In the past week, volunteers provided assistance to 107 individuals, including 59 adults and 48 children with temporary housing, health services, disaster mental health services, financial assistance and information about recovery planning.
Every second counts when there’s a home fire. To help protect your household, test your smoke alarms each month and practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes. 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.
For free home fire safety resources, including an escape plan, visit redcross.org/fire or download the free Red Cross 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.
If you or someone you know needs assistance after a home fire or local disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747.
Red Cross Volunteers at the Ready to Help After Storms
American Red Cross volunteers with the Disaster Action Team are assisting eight people affected by flooding in Chicago after last night’s severe storm. The Red Cross is providing shelter and financial assistance.
In addition, volunteers were out in Sycamore on Tuesday conducting disaster damage assessment after storms ripped through the region on Monday. The Red Cross is helping those impacted.
Volunteers Needed as We Approach Busy Disaster Season
The Red Cross is preparing for another extremely busy disaster season, and it’s critical to have a trained, ready volunteers to make sure we can provide relief at a moment’s notice. This year’s wildfire season is already very active and dangerous because of the severe drought and dry woodlands across the west. And experts are predicting we could see 10 or more hurricanes in the upcoming weeks.
Last year, Red Cross volunteers with the Illinois Region provided immediate emergency assistance to 9,135 people after 1,832 home fires and other disasters.
If you want to make a difference and are interested in helping your community should a disaster occur here at home or across the country, please sign up at redcross.org/volunteertoday. Below are the most needed volunteer positions in the Illinois Region:
DISASTER ACTION TEAM MEMBER
Local Disaster Action Teams provide 24-hour emergency response to local disasters, particularly home fires, ensuring that those affected have access to resources for basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing. If you are team-oriented and want to help your neighbor here or across the country, the DAT responder may be just the thing for you.
The Red Cross needs new volunteers to support disaster shelters. Volunteers will help with reception, registration, food distribution, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks inside disaster shelters locally and nationally.
The Red Cross also needs volunteers who can work in disaster shelters locally and nationally to address people’s health needs and provide hands-on care in alignment with their professional licensure (registered nurse and licensed practical nurse/licensed vocational nurse). We have both associate and supervisory level opportunities available. If you are an RN, LPN, LVN, APRN, NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO or PA with a current and unencumbered license, this volunteer position could be right for you.
How to Stay Safe During Extreme Heat
Our region and most of the country continues to experience abnormally hot temperatures and humidity this week and the Red Cross has steps everyone should follow to stay safe.
1. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of non-caffeine and non-alcoholic fluids.
3. Check on family, friends and neighbors without air conditioning, who are alone or who are more likely to be affected by heat.
4. If you don’t have air conditioning, seek relief from the heat in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.
5. Avoid extreme temperature changes.
6. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
7. Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
8. Postpone outdoor activities.
9. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
10. Check on animals frequently. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade.
Back to School Safety tips
As the coronavirus pandemic eases its hold in some areas of the country, most schools will be calling students back to the classroom soon after months of virtual learning. The American Red Cross wants to make sure your student is safe as they head back to school for the upcoming year.
The American Red Cross offers these steps to help make the trip back to the classroom a safe one.
1. If your student rides a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand away from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive.
2. Students should board the bus only after it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has instructed them to get on. They should only board their bus, never an alternate one. All students should stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.
3. Cross the street at the corner, obey traffic signals and stay in the crosswalk. Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
4. If children go to school in a car, they should always wear a seat belt. Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4’9”), and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
5. If a teenager is going to drive to school, parents should mandate that they use seat belts. Drivers should not use their cell phone to text or make calls, and avoid eating or drinking while driving.
6. Some students ride their bike to school. They should always wear a helmet and ride on the right, in the same direction as the traffic is going.
7. When children are walking to school, they should only cross the street at an intersection, and use a route along which the school has placed crossing guards. Parents should walk young children to school, along with children taking new routes or attending new schools, at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely. Arrange for students to walk to school with a friend or classmate.
In addition, parents of younger kids and those headed to school for the first time, should also take a few special steps. Make sure the child knows their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 911. Teach children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know.
DRIVERS, SLOW DOWN!
Drivers should be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down, especially in residential areas and school zones. Motorists should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean. Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is getting ready to stop and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign indicate the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.
PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES Know what the emergency plan is at your child’s school in case a disaster or an unforeseen event occurs. Develop a family emergency plan so everyone will know who to contact and where to go if something happens while children are at school and parents are at work. Details are available at redcross.org/prepare. Download the First Aid app for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps. Learn and practice first aid and CPR skills by taking a course (redcross.org/takeaclass).
Photo description: Red Cross volunteer conducts disaster damage assessment in Sycamore, Illinois on Aug. 10 after severe storms ripped through the region on Monday evening.
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.