(CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Jan. 4, 2018) - In one day, volunteers with the Charlotte Metro Chapter of the American Red Cross respond to 3 multi-family fires and assist 48 people in 17 households. Wednesday’s busy day follows an already high response holiday time from Christmas Day through Tuesday in which chapter volunteers responded to 13 fires and assisted 62 people in 64 households.
“As temperatures drop, we often see an increase in home fires,” said Jerri Jameson, communications officer for the Red Cross Western North Carolina Region. “Nearly half of American families use alternative heating sources such as space heaters, fireplaces, or wood or coal stoves to stay warm. These very things meant to keep a family warm often result in tragic home fires.”
The Red Cross recommends some safe heating tips:
- Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding 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.
- If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
- When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over as another safety measure.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home. Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
- Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces professionally inspected and cleaned once a year.
MAKE YOUR HOME SAFER:
The Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters a year, one every 8 minutes, and most of them are home fires. Home fires can happen quickly and claim lives and property. Families can keep themselves and their loved ones safer by checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home. For more information about home fire preparedness, visit redcross.org/wnc.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
The Red Cross could not have assisted these families had it not been for the commitment of its volunteers. We are always in need of volunteers. If interested in joining the Red Cross, discover the possibilities at redcross.org/volunteer.
The Red Cross is able to provide services such as home fires response, shelters, casework assistance and more free thanks to the generosity of our donors. Anyone wishing to help the Red Cross provide assistance to people impacted by disasters such as home fires, may donate at redcross.org/wnc or by calling 800-RED-CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.