As temperatures across South Carolina continue to drop the American Red Cross of South Carolina urges everyone to safely heat their home to avoid home fires.
Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, which typically rise in South Carolina during the colder months. Last week alone, the Red Cross helped over 80 people across the state after more than 30 home fires.
In November, we supported more than 445 people with urgent needs like emergency lodging, financial assistance and recovery planning after more than 125 fires across the state.
“Cold temperatures often bring the risk of home heating fires, and we want everyone to stay safe by properly warming their home,” said Rod Tolbert, the Regional CEO of the Red Cross of South Carolina. “With a few simple reminders and an emergency plan, you can keep your family safe.”
HOW TO HEAT
A 2020 Red Cross survey showed that more than half of us have used a space heater — which is involved in most fatal home heating fires. Provide at least three feet of space for all heating equipment, and never leave space heaters unattended. Follow these additional tips:
• If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor. Don’t place it on rugs and carpets, or near bedding and drapes; keep away children and pets.
• Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets — never into an extension cord. Turn it off every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
• Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
• Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
• Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.
TWO STEPS TO
PREVENT FIRE TRAGEDIES
To help protect your family year-round, test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can escape in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late.
Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).
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, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.