RALEIGH, Nov. 14, 2017 — The days are getting shorter and the temperatures cooler, signs that many people will turn the heat back on in their homes. It’s also the time of year when the number of home fires goes up, often caused by using alternate heating methods.
The American Red Cross is partnering with Duke Energy to encourage community members to be prepared and equipped for emergencies like home fires – the most common disaster.
In an effort to increase resident preparedness in Eastern North Carolina, Duke Energy granted $45,000 to the Red Cross. The funds will allow the Red Cross to boost community outreach trainings; increase disaster preparedness among students; reduce lives lost using the Home Fires Campaign Smoke Alarm Installation and Outreach Program, and partner with Duke Energy on the Duke Energy Residential Neighborhood Program to grow resident disaster preparedness.
“Last year alone, the Red Cross in Eastern North Carolina helped more than 5,000 people who lost their homes to fires,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO of the Red Cross in Eastern NC. “Because of Duke Energy’s support, we can continue to prepare our communities and be there for families when they need us most.”
Duke Energy is a proud supporter of the Red Cross and has partnered with the nonprofit on blood drives, disaster relief and safety preparedness programs in the past.
“In our line of work, safety and readiness are top priorities,” said David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “The Red Cross shares this focus and we’re proud to continue our partnership with them to promote disaster preparedness throughout eastern North Carolina.”
Keep your family safe during cool weather months:
HOME HEATING SAFETY Have furnaces, chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves inspected and cleaned before another winter of use. Test batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Other good steps to take to get one’s home ready for winter include:
• Make sure flashlights are available throughout the house and they have fresh batteries. Winter storms can lead to power outages.
• Insulate the home by installing storm windows or covering the inside of windows with plastic to keep cold air out.
• Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone who lives in the home.
• Prepare a disaster supply kit to have ready should winter storms hit. The kit should include a three-day supply of food and water per person, flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra batteries. Other things to have on hand for the winter include:
o Sand, rock salt or kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
o Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and warm clothing for all household members, along with extra blankets.
• Winterize your vehicle.
• Consider buying emergency heating equipment, such as a wood- or coal-burning stove or an electric or kerosene heater.
SPACE HEATERS Nearly half of the households in this country use alternative heating sources such as space heaters, fireplaces, or wood/coal stoves to stay warm. Fixed and portable space heaters, including wood stoves, are involved in 74 percent of fire-related deaths.
If someone is using a space heater, the Red Cross recommends that people look for a model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over. Space heaters should be placed on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home. Other safety tips include:
• Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
• Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
• Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
Download the free Red Cross Emergency App at redcross.org/apps for heating safety and winter storm tips.
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.
About Duke Energy Foundation:
The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of the communities where its customers live and work. In 2015, the foundation provided more than $30 million in charitable gifts. The foundation’s education focus spans kindergarten to career, particularly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), early childhood literacy and workforce development. It also supports the environment and community impact initiatives, including arts and culture.
Duke Energy employees and retirees actively contribute to their communities as volunteers and leaders at a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. Duke Energy is committed to building on its legacy of community service. For more information, visit http://www.duke-energy.com/foundation.