Volunteers with the local American Red Cross were busy this week responding to 23 home fires across Chicagoland from October 11 through today. Our volunteers helped residents impacted by incidents in Harvey, Homewood, Morris, Naperville, Ottawa and more, including Chicago where 13 of these home fires occurred. Sadly, one of these incidents resulted in the loss of life.
In the past week, Red Cross volunteers assisted 68 individuals, including 53 adults and 15 children 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.
COLD WEATHER AND HOME 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. The Red Cross has the following tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe:
Heating Equipment - 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.
Also, when cooking keep an eye on what you fry and never leave cooking food unattended. If you need to leave the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
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.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY 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. 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.
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).
*Access Home Fire B-roll here.
NATIONAL EMERGENCY BLOOD SHORTAGE CONTINUES
Right now, the Red Cross has an emergency blood and platelet shortage. The Red Cross national blood inventory is the lowest it’s been at this time of year since 2015 as 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. It is the blood already on hospital shelves that makes a lifesaving difference.
Less than 38% of the population in the United States is eligible to give blood or platelets but it is estimated that only 3% of eligible individuals donate blood yearly.
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.
Individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine are still eligible to donate blood and platelets. If you are feeling healthy and are eligible to donate we ask you to make an appointment.
*Access Blood Donation B-Roll here.
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.