The following information is from the Red Cross:
Winter is one of the busiest times of the year for American Red Cross disaster volunteers, and we want to make sure you’re safe during the cold months.
As temperatures drop, people start looking for creative ways to heat their homes – and we see a spike in house and apartment fires. Alternative heat sources can carry greater risks than traditional methods, and can lead to a disastrous blaze. We want you to stay warm and safe. Below are suggestions to achieve both.
- Inspect fireplaces and wood stoves - Have your chimney connections and flues inspected and cleaned by a professional before every heating season. Use a sturdy screen when burning fires.
- Only burn wood, and never leave the fire unattended.
- Check smoke detectors – Install new batteries in your smoke detectors and make sure detectors are working properly.
- Do not overuse electrical outlets – Don’t overload your electrical outlets with heating sources or appliances. Be careful of extension cords that can cause you to trip.
- Use caution with portable space heaters – Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible, including wallpaper, bedding and clothing. Do not leave children or pets unattended near space heaters, and never leave space heaters on when you leave the room or go to bed. Look for a model that shuts off automatically if it tips over.
- Use generators carefully – Always operate portable generators outside – never indoors.
- Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
- Create a disaster supplies kit - Place lifesaving items in both your home and vehicle. Go to www.redcross.org for a list of materials to include.
- If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL for help.
- Talk with all household members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. In the event of a fire, working smoke alarms and a practiced fire escape plan can save lives. For more fire safety tips, visit
You can help people affected by disasters like home fires, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by fire. Visit www.redcross.org to find out how you can help.