Red Cross volunteers with the Disaster Action Team, assisted seven people impacted by home fires in Amboy, Machesney Park and Rockford from September 27 through today. Our volunteers helped those affected with temporary emergency housing, health services, disaster mental health services, financial assistance and information about recovery planning.
If you or someone you know needs assistance after a home fire or local disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747.
FIRE PREVENTION WEEK
Every second counts when there’s a home fire. This Fire Prevention Week (October 3-9), the American Red Cross urges you to test your smoke alarms to help protect your household.
The threat of home fires increases with cold weather. According to the National Fire Protection Association — which is sponsoring Fire Prevention Week with the theme, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” — home fires are most common in cooler months when people spend more time inside, and cooking and heating equipment are the leading causes of these crises.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY During Fire Prevention Week, test your smoke alarms and practice your two-minute home fire escape drill — the amount of time that experts say you may have to get out before it’s too late. Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like and talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information.
- Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and 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 likely need to be replaced because components such batteries can become less reliable. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.
- Include at least two ways to exit every room in your home in your escape plan.
- 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.
- Tailor your escape plan to everyone’s needs in your household. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, install strobe light and bed-shaker alarms to help alert you to a fire. When practicing your plan, include any devices or people that can help you to get out safely.
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.
NATIONAL EMERGENCY BLOOD SHORTAGE
Right now, the Red Cross has an emergency blood and platelet shortage. Blood donor turnout has reached the lowest levels of the year as many delayed giving amid a return to the workplace and in-person learning and a spike in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant. Donors of all blood types – especially type O – and platelet donors are urged to make an appointment at redcrossblood.org or call 1-800 RED CROSS to give now and in the weeks ahead to overcome this current shortage.
Blood transfusions are one of the most common hospital procedures in the U.S. – used to help treat kids battling cancer, accident victims being rushed to emergency rooms, individuals experiencing extreme sickle cell disease pain, and people with complicated childbirths.
As a thank-you, all those who come to give in October will receive a link by email for a free Zaxby’s Signature Sandwich. If you don’t live near a Zaxby’s, we still want you to enjoy a lunch on us with a $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice. Terms and conditions apply; see rcblood.org/zax for details.
How to Donate Blood
Visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App to make schedule your appointment to give blood in the days, weeks and months to come. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
Blood drive safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.
Health insights for donors
At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.
Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
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.