“It’s important to take steps to get your home ready for winter,”
said Lyn Hruska, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross Central
and Southern Illinois Region. “The Red Cross responds to about
66,000 disasters every year across the country, and most of them are
home fires. We urge people to follow these steps to be ready for the
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
- 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:
- Sand, rock salt or kitty litter to make walkways and
steps less slippery
- Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and warm
clothing for all household members, along with extra
- Winterize your vehicle.
- Consider buying emergency heating equipment, such as a
wood- or coal-burning stove or an electric or kerosene
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.
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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
- 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.
The Red Cross and its partners have undertaken an effort to
reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25%. The Home
Fire Campaign began in 2014 and is already responsible for
saving more than 110 lives.
Working with fire departments and community groups across the
country, the Red Cross is installing smoke alarms in homes in
neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching residents
about fire prevention and preparedness. The Red Cross is calling
on everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: create
and practice their home fire escape plan and check their smoke
Here in the Central and Southern Illinois Region, the Red Cross
has installed more than 5,000 smoke alarms and helped thousands
of residents create home fire escape plans. To learn more about
the campaign and home fire safety, visit redcross.org/homefires.
[Trish Burnett, Regional
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