With brutally cold weather in recent days, the American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas has responded to numerous home fires that left many families without a place to stay and other daily essentials.
“Since February 1, our teams have assisted over 1,000 people following over 300 fires throughout the Missouri-Arkansas region,” said Chris Harmon, Regional Disaster Officer.
To break this down by each state and each of our eight Red Cross chapter, since February 1:
- Greater Arkansas chapter (Little Rock) helped nearly 230 people
- Northwest Arkansas chapter (Rogers) helped 64 people
- Northeast Arkansas chapter (Jonesboro) helped 70 people
In the Arkansas portion of our region, of the more than 1,000 people assisted, more than 360 lived in the area covered by Arkansas-based Red Cross chapters.
- Greater Kansas City and Northwest Missouri (Kansas City) helped nearly 250
- Greater St. Louis chapter (St. Louis) helped nearly 170 people
- Central and Northern Missouri chapter (Jefferson City) helped nearly 60 people
- Southeast Missouri chapter (Cape Girardeau) helped nearly 80 people
- Southern Missouri chapter (Springfield) helped 136 people
In the Missouri portion of our region, of the more than 1,000 people assisted, nearly 700 lived in the area covered by Missouri-based Red Cross chapters, which includes some border counties in Kansas and Illinois along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
Red Cross provides immediate assistance following home fires including emergency lodging, support for food and clothing and other urgent needs, and help with recovery planning.
On average, the Missouri and Arkansas region responds to 10 to 15 fires each day.
The Red Cross recommends the following fire prevention measures:
Safe home heating:
- Provide at least three feet of space for all heating equipment, and never leave space heaters unattended.
- Place space heaters 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; keep away children and pets.
- Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets — never into an extension cord. Turn it off every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
- Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.
Smoke alarms and fire escape plans:
To help protect your family year-round, test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can escape in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family.
Fire prevention and safety checklist >> (Also available in Spanish).
Home Fire escape plan>>
Download the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).
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.