Red Cross Helps Three Families After Fires

The American Red Cross Disaster Action Team members had a busy night in southeastern Wisconsin. The American Red Cross responded to a call for assistance in Racine after a mom and her three children were forced from their St. Patrick Street home after a fire. 

Also, a townhouse fire on Brentwood Avenue in Milwaukee displaced two families. 

All three families were provided temporary housing, food, and clothing as needed. Comfort kits were also provided to those affected.

Area Red Cross volunteers have met with the family members to help them begin the recovery process in whatever way the client decides is best. It begins with giving them someone to talk to; help in figuring out what comes next, what community resources are available and immediate funds to help jump start their recovery.

The American Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes and nearly all of these are home fires. Across Wisconsin, our local Red Cross responds to nearly a 1,000 household fires a year.

Home fires are a common and deadly because they happen so quickly and we urge everyone to become aware of what they should do to prevent a fire in their home. Fortunately, most home fires can be prevented. Homeowners should check for items that can be hazardous such as candles and space heaters – common items that can turn dangerous very quickly.

To help avoid a fire in the home, there are steps someone can take now:

·         Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.

·         Never smoke in bed.

·         Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep.

Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. Put a smoke alarm inside every bedroom. Because smoke rises, put the alarms on the ceiling or high on the wall. Test the smoke alarms regularly. Install new batteries every year. Get new smoke alarms every ten years.

The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home. People should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a safe place to meet outside the home in case of a fire.

Other safety steps include:

·         Follow the escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

·         Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.

·         Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.

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