RALEIGH, Jan. 26, 2018 — In the first nine days of the new year, the American Red Cross responded to nearly 60 percent more home fires than that same period in 2017.
Red Cross volunteers across the country have already responded to 3,150 home fires in the first nine days of the year, compared to 2,003 fires in the same time period of 2017. This can be attributed to the recent string of dangerously cold days, as colder temperatures are often linked to a rise in home fires. Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months, according to the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration.
The Eastern North Carolina Region of the Red Cross (53 counties) responded to home and apartment fires that displaced 267 families from Dec. 23, 2017- Jan. 23, 2018. That’s nearly nine families every day who were left suddenly in the cold and snow. In that one-month timeframe, the Red Cross helped 735 individuals with basic needs and a warm, safe place to stay as they began to piece their lives back together.
“Each of these home fires is devastating for the people involved and we have recently seen a dramatic increase in the number of deaths and injuries,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO of the Red Cross in Eastern NC. “Before our next cold snap, we can’t urge the public enough to make sure they have working smoke alarms, which Red Cross can provide for free if needed, and make sure their families have a planned escape route should they experience a fire.”
SAFETY TIPS TO HELP PREVENT HOME FIRES:
The Red Cross is asking every household in Eastern NC to take steps that can help save lives.
• Keep all potential sources of fuel - paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs - at least three feet away from sources of heat.
• Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended.
• Place space heaters on a level, hard and nonflammable surface. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over.
• Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
• Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen.
NATIONAL HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVES 332 LIVES The Red Cross responds to as many as 64,000 disasters every year and most of these are home fires. Sadly, seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire.
To combat these statistics, the Red Cross launched its Home Fire Campaign in 2014, focusing on installing free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching people about fire safety. Since the start of the campaign, the Red Cross and partners have installed more than 1 million smoke alarms and helped to save 332 lives.
NEED A SMOKE ALARM?
The Red Cross provides free smoke alarm installations. To request a free alarm, call your local Red Cross office, or visit www.soundthealarm.org/enc and fill out a request form.
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.