Cheyenne, Wyo. - In the first nine days of the new year, the American Red Cross responded to nearly 60 percent more home fires than in 2017.
Red Cross volunteers across the country responded to 3,150 home fires in the first nine days of the year, compared to 2,003 fires in 2017. Some of this may be attributed to the 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.
After a home fire, a Red Cross volunteer is often among the first on the scene – offering emotional support, helping those affected to find a place to stay and assisting with recovery. In the Colorado & Wyoming Region, Red Cross volunteers have responded to more than 88 events and assisted nearly 250 people in the five-week period ending February 4, 2018.
Breakdown of the CO & WY 87 county service area:
Wyoming Chapter: 25 individuals received aid; eleven were under age 18 and 2 over the age of 65. The Wyoming Chapter response area covers all 23 counties that make up the state of Wyoming.
Mile High Chapter (MHC): 117 individuals received aid; more than 33 were under 18 years old and 5 over the age of 65The MHC response area includes 10 counties in the Denver Metro area.
Southeastern Colorado Chapter (SeCO): 57 individuals received aid; 12 were under 18 years old while one were age 65 or older. The SeCO response area includes 16 counties.
Northern Colorado Chapter (NoCO): 13 individuals received aid; Three were under 18 years old and one over 65 years of age. The NoCO response area includes 11 counties.
Western Colorado Chapter (WeCO): 33 individuals received aid. One was over the age of 65. The WeCo response area covers 27 counties, serving all western Colorado and the San Luis Valley.
The families and individuals were provided a place to stay, money for clothes, food and medicine. Along with providing casework for the residents in a quick and efficient time frame, Red Cross volunteers will continue to provide support to these families going forward, by doing follow up work to ensure all needs are met and the individuals have a clear path to recovery from this personal disaster.
“The Red Cross responds to almost 64,000 disasters across the United States every year and most of these are home fires,” said Mike Masto, Regional Disaster Officer “These home fires are devastating for the people involved and also responsible for a number of deaths and injuries.”
WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO? The Red Cross is asking every household in America to take steps that can help save lives. Find out more here. In addition to preparing your home and family, volunteers are needed in many areas to help install smoke alarms in at-risk communities. People can go to www.soundthealarm.org to learn more about local installation events.
Everyone can also follow these tips to help prevent a fire in their home:
• 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.
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.
The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. If someone would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.