OKLAHOMA CITY, (Dec. 19, 2016) — Since Saturday, the American Red Cross Serving Oklahoma has responded to 20 calls for fire assistance, bringing the total number of fire responses for the month of December to 125 and counting. With an average of almost seven fires a day across the state, this number already surpasses the number of fires recorded for the entire month of December last year.
“With freezing temperatures comes the heightened potential for home fires,” said James Tittle, regional disaster officer for the Red Cross Serving Oklahoma and Arkansas. “We are seeing a spike in the number of fires we respond to this month due to the extreme weather.”
A total of 455 individuals so far this month have received assistance from the Red Cross due to a home or apartment fire in Oklahoma.
The families and individuals were provided with a place to stay, money for clothes, food and medicine. Along with providing casework for the residents in a quick and efficient time frame, Red Cross volunteers will continue to provide support to these families going forward, by doing follow up work to ensure all needs are met and the individuals have a clear path to recovery from this personal disaster.
HOME FIRE SAFETY
There are several things people can do to protect themselves and their loved ones from fires. They include:
- Installing smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test them every month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Developing a fire evacuation plan with all members of the household and practicing it several times a year, at different times of the day.
- Include two ways to get out of every room and consider escape ladders for sleeping areas or homes on the second floor or above.
- Pick a place outside for everyone to meet and make sure everyone knows where it is.
- Removing any fire hazards from the home.
- Download the Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies including burns.
Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross has launched a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent by the end of 2019. As part of the campaign the Red Cross is joining fire departments and community groups nationwide to install smoke alarms in communities with high numbers of fires. The Red Cross also is asking every household in America to take the two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.
For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit redcross.org/homefires.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org/donate, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 66,000 disasters every year, from home fires to hurricanes and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.
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, redcross.org/oklahoma or follow us on Twitter @RedCrossOK.