The days are getting shorter and the temperatures cooler, signs that it is the time of year when many people turn the heat on again in their homes. This is also the time of year when the number of home fires goes up, often times caused by the use of alternate heating methods. The American Red Cross provides a list of steps people should follow as they get their homes ready for cooler weather.
“It’s important to take steps to get your home ready for winter,” said Celena Roldán, CEO of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “The Red Cross responds to about 64,000 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 cooler weather.”
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:
Other things to have on hand for the winter include:
Space Heaters - 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 looking 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.
Other safety tips include:
Download the free Red Cross Emergency App at redcross.org/apps for heating safety and winter storm tips.
Home Fire Campaign
The Red Cross and its partners have undertaken an effort to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent. The Home Fire Campaign began in 2014 and is already responsible for saving more than 470 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 alarms.
To learn more about the campaign and home fire safety, visit redcross.org/homefires.
About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. 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/il/chicago or on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.