NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., August 3, 2016 – Yesterday, American Red Cross disaster-trained volunteers assisted 34 people in South Carolina after home fires. The Red Cross is helping 12 families by providing financial assistance for immediate needs, such as food, clothing, and temporary lodging, comfort kits with personal hygiene items, and assistance with recovery planning.
“Home fires are the most common disaster in the U.S.,” explains Louise Welch Williams, chief executive officer for the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross. “Families in South Carolina are affected by home fires year-round, not just during the colder winter months. This is why it is important to have working smoke alarms and for your entire family to know what to do should a fire break out in your home.”
HOME FIRE PREPAREDNESS The Red Cross is asking people to take two simple steps that can help save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.
- Every household should develop a fire escape plan and practice it several times a year and 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.
- Practice that home fire drill until everyone in the household can do it in less than two minutes.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test them every month and replace the batteries when needed.
The American Red Cross, on average, responds to a home fire every four hours in South Carolina.
“We are able to quickly respond to home fires and help a family back on its feet simply because of the power of our everyday heroes—our volunteers," said Williams.
The Red Cross is inviting the community to learn about opportunities to help their friends and neighbors in disaster preparation, response, and recovery in South Carolina. Those interested in volunteering should visit www.redcross.org/sc to start their volunteer application and register to attend an upcoming “Introduction to Your Local Red Cross” class.
Volunteers make up more than 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce. These volunteers represent a variety of backgrounds and receive free training. Volunteers with the Red Cross can set flexible schedules in volunteer positions that appeal to their specific skills or interests.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/SC or@RedCrossSC.