The Elizabeth Hanford Dole Chapter of the American Red Cross has been busy in the last week responding to fires that destroyed four homes in Rowan:
- A Nov. 27 fire on Chalice Court in Salisbury that displaced two adults
- A Dec. 1 fire on Martin Luther King Jr. in Salisbury that displaced a family of four
- A Dec. 3 fire on N. Salisbury Avenue in Granite Quarry that displaced a family of three
- A Dec. 3 fire on Lomax Drive in Gold Hill that displaced seven people
The Red Cross provided assistance for emergency needs, like food, shelter and clothing. Red Cross staff and volunteers also work with the families on a case-by-case basis to help them get on the road to recovery with other community partners.
Home fires are the biggest disaster threat to people in this country – worse than floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. With the onset of winter and colder weather, people will be turning up their thermostats to stay warm. Many will resort to alternate heating methods to cut down on costs. Supplemental heating sources can be dangerous if not used properly.
“This is the busiest time of the year for us,” said local Red Cross Emergency Services Specialist Deborah Lineberger, who noted that on average, the chapter responds to four or five fires a month.
Those who want to help the people affected by fires like these, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Their gift will enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other disaster assistance. Visit www.ehdoleredcross.org for more information on making a donation to the American Red Cross.
Fire safety tips:
The Red Cross urges caution when using heating alternatives and offers the following safety tips on how to prevent fires:
- Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and furnaces professionally inspected once a year.
- Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.
- Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended.
- Turn off space heaters or extinguish the fireplace before going to bed or leaving home.
- Place a space heater on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away. Look for a space heater model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over.
- When using a fireplace, use a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks or rolling logs and keep the fire in the fireplace.
- Keep all flammable materials such as newspapers, matches, bedding, clothing, carpets and rugs at least three feet away from heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces and stoves.
Smoke alarms save lives. People should:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
- Check monthly that smoke alarms are working properly by pushing the test button.
- Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year.
- Replace smoke alarms every ten years.