American Red Cross urges caution when heating homes
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — As cold temperatures continue, the American Red Cross is consistently reminding people to use caution when heating their homes. Home fires are reportedly the number one disaster threat to families in the U.S.
Within the Kentuckiana Region, which is made up of 55 counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, the Red Cross responded to more than 100 home fires in January. A total of $67,000 was used to assist families and individuals affected by home fires.
"We respond to about one home fire every nine minutes across the country. The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones is to install a smoke alarm and develop and practice a fire escape plan," said Jennifer Adrio, CEO for the Kentuckiana region of the American Red Cross. "Fires can spread very quickly, so everyone at home, school and work should know what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm."
Officials at the Red Cross recommend the following steps to help keep homes secure through the winter:
Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.
Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year.
Follow your escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to get information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.
The Red Cross offers the following tips to those needing to use alternate heating sources:
Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen to catch sparks and rolling logs.
Do not use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside your home, garage, basement or any partially enclosed area. Place unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
Don't hook a generator up to the home's wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for additional fire safety tips. The Red Cross says it depends on the generosity of volunteers and donors to continue serving the community. Members of the Disaster Action Team are trained to respond to home fires, offering emotional support and assisting families with their immediate emergency needs. If you are interested in becoming a disaster volunteer or in making a financial donation, please visit www.redcross.org/Louisville.