The holiday season is a time for fun, but unfortunately, it is also a time when we see increases in home fires. Across the country, more than 45,000 fires occur during the winter holidays, claiming hundreds of lives.
Heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces or wood and coal stoves can pose dangers. The American Red Cross encourages families to take steps to prevent fires while temperatures are cold.
The American Red Cross Gold Country Region has responded to 22 house and apartment fires since Sunday, November 22. Volunteers provided 112 clients with the immediate needs like shelter, food, clothing and referrals..
To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross officials recommend the following:
- All heaters need space. Keep children, pets and things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
- Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned if necessary.
- 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. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.
The American Red Cross is always looking for volunteers that can help when disasters strike, learn how you too can be part of our team and register to volunteer today!