Following six home fires during the past week in Paris, West Frankfort, McLeansboro, Mt. Vernon and Johnston City the Red Cross of Illinois urges residents to test their smoke alarms and practice their escape plan with everyone in their household.
Local Red Cross volunteers helped 19 people, including 4 children, affected by home fires, providing services like shelter, emergency financial assistance, food, relief items like toiletries, health and mental health services, and one-on-one support to connect affected residents to available recovery assistance. The recent fires are among more than 950 home fires that we’ve responded to since last July.
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by home fires, as we work to provide support to those who need it,” said Mark Thomas, Interim CEO of the Illinois Red Cross. “Although apartment and condo buildings are more likely to have sprinkler systems and fire alarms, it’s still critical to have a fire escape plan and working smoke alarms wherever you live.”
HOW TO STAY SAFE Apartment residents can follow these tips to help stay safe:
- Learn the building’s fire safety features, including fire alarms, sprinklers and evacuation plans.
- Make sure all exits are clearly marked and not blocked.
- Know locations of all available exit stairwells, as one or more of the exits might be blocked by fire.
- Individuals with access or functional needs, including a disability, should learn where the closest area of safe refuge is.
- Identify a meeting place for members of your household that is outside and away from the building.
- Talk to your apartment management if you have concerns about alarms or sprinklers in your unit.
- If smoke or fire enters your unit and you cannot immediately escape, call 9-1-1 to report your location. Open a window slightly; wave a bright cloth or a light at night to identify your location. If smoke enters the unit, stay low to the floor to breathe the best air.
For home fire safety resources and tips, 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).
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVE LIVES Home fires take seven lives each day in the U.S., most often in homes without working smoke alarms. That’s why the Red Cross is working with partners to install free smoke alarms in high-risk communities and help families create escape plans through its Home Fire Campaign — which has saved at least 2,012 lives across the country since launching in October 2014. In Illinois, last year, Red Cross volunteers and local partners installed more than 7,800 free smoke alarms and made 7,890 people safer from the threat of home fires.
About the American Red Cross:
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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.