Home Fires Become Top Disaster Threat

Home fires top list of disaster responses throughout Wisconsin

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This year, the Red Cross helped more people affected by home fires than all other disasters combined. Locally trained workers responded at all hours of the day with food, blankets and comfort to help more than 3,451 people with nowhere else to turn after home fires from January 1 to December 1, 2014.

During that same timeframe, the Red Cross also provided financial support to 1,064 households after home fires to help replace lost belongings and begin the long road to recovery. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to a disaster in the community every 8 minutes and the vast majority of these are home fires.

Within December alone, we have already responded to nearly 50 additional fires as this is our busiest month of the year including several large apartment building fires in Milwaukee.

“While tornadoes, floods and hurricanes tend to dominate the headlines, people often underestimate the frequency and devastation caused by home fires, and that’s where the Red Cross comes in,” said Marytha Blanchard, the states Disaster Officer. “Our work doesn’t end after the smoke clears, every day local volunteers are helping people to recover and get better prepared.”

Curbing Deaths and Injuries from Home Fires

Because of the high number of home fires in this country, the Red Cross launched a campaign this year to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. The organization is asking every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.

Since the campaign launched in October, the Red Cross—in partnership with fire departments and community groups nationwide—has already reached more than 29,000 people by installing 17,000 smoke alarms. These efforts have already saved five lives nationwide. In the Wisconsin Region, we’ve already reached 599 people by installing 342 smoke alarms in Beloit, Chippewa Falls, Kaukauna, Stevens Point and Milwaukee. Based on 5-year historical data, additional neighborhoods are being coordinated for 2015 outreach.

Other Notable Disaster Responses

Within the state, we have responded to numerous other disasters this year, including the Platteville and Verona tornadoes, flooding and even power outages. In addition, our trained responders have also traveled across the country to assist in the California & Texas wildfires, Buffalo blizzard, Oso mudslide, Pilger tornadoes and longer-term casework for the Illinois tornado/flood.

Our work is made possible by the generosity of the American public. You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables us to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

 

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Red Cross helping with emergency housing, food and clothing needs

Fire from 15th Avenue in Green Bay. (photo from http://fox11online.com)

Fire from 15th Avenue in Green Bay. (photo from http://fox11online.com)

The American Red Cross is helping a dozen people – nine adults and three children from four families – after  fires yesterday in (W. Winnebago) Appleton, (Happy Valley Drive) Menasha, (5th Avenue) Green Bay and (N. Ostranda Lane) Crivitz. The Red Cross is meeting with and providing appropriate help for emergency housing, food and clothing needs.

The Red Cross has also provided families with emergency lodging, sweatsuits and personal hygiene kits along with professional resources during this difficult situation. Financial assistance for clothing, food, winter garments and shoes was also provided. Red Cross team members will be available to help the families moving forward from the initial disaster response through recovery.

American Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge, a gift made possible by generous donations and the work of trained volunteers.

To learn more about the American Red Cross or to make a financial gift please call, text or click. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS, text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation or click on www.redcross.org

Top 10 Songs You Need in Your Life During Fire Safety Month

Here is a clever re-post from  Erin Hunt Miller, Regional Communications Director at American Red Cross, Central Illinois Region

October! Its a month of spooky stuff, football games and, because it is National Fire Safety Month, fire prevention.  I took a very unofficial Red Cross poll of staff and volunteers across the Midwest, and they ranked the following songs as the best fire songs of all time.

10. Rooms on Fire by Stevie Nicks – “Every time that you walk in a room” in your home remember the two ways to escape in case of a fire. Everyone in the family should know this for every room in your home.

9. Fire by the Pointer Sisters – Fire can “have a hold on you right from the start”, so in case of a fire… Get out, stay out and call 9-1-1.

8. I’m on Fire by Bruce Springsteen – “The Boss” may be on fire, but he doesn’t want you to be.  Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

7. Fire by Jimi Hendrix – An awesome song to remind you to “stand next to your fire”.  Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.

6. Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis – An oldie but a goodie is a great illustration of the unpredictable nature of fire.  If your home is on fire, remember that once you are out of the house, do not go back in to retrieve ANYTHING.

5. Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple – The song with (in my opinion) one of the best intro guitar riffs of all time reminds you about the power of smoke. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

4. We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel – Maybe Billy didn’t start the fire, but who could?  Talk to your children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.

3. Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash – “Love burns, burns, burns like a ring of fire”, and so can potholders, towels, plastic and clothing.  So, be sure you keep those items far from the stove while cooking.

2. Light my Fire by The Doors – Where should you “light your fire”?  Not indoors because carbon monoxide can kill.  So never use a generator, grill, camp stove or charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage, basement or any partially enclosed area.

1. Burning Down the House by The Talking Heads – Fire can quickly burn down the house so make sure your family is notified quickly.  Stop reading this post and replace the batteries in your smoke alarms. Do this at least once a year.

For more Red Cross fire safety tips, click here.

Where to begin?

By Sara Bruesewitz, Public Support Coordinator

two rivers house fire 2-11-14-2When you wake up the next day following a fire, you experience a flood of emotions. What do we do next? Where will we live? Who is going to help us? It’s really powerful knowing that the Red Cross will be there for you to help you take those next steps. The family in Two Rivers who lost everything to a home fire last night will meet with our trained Casework department to determine what emergency needs they have, what the Red Cross can provide to them, how to work with their insurance company and what other community resources are available to them.

two rivers house fire 2-11-14Midwestern communities are always moved to do something for families when disasters strike – it’s what we do and it’s in our blood – however, it’s not always the best route to take. Right now, the family has their emergency needs met – thanks to our wonderful donors & community partners – so instead of overwhelming them with stuff, consider making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief so families in the future can receive the same services. The best way to help a disaster victim is through a financial donation to the Red Cross. Financial contributions allow the Red Cross to purchase exactly what is needed for the disaster relief operation – no matter if it is big or small and personal. Thank You!

It’s National Fire Prevention Week

cooking fireThe theme of this year’s National Fire Prevention Week is “Prevent Kitchen Fires” and the American Red Cross has steps people can follow to avoid fires while cooking.

The Red Cross responds to a fire in someone’s home about every eight minutes and cooking is the number one cause of these fires in the United States.

KEEP AN EYE ON WHAT YOU FRY The cook should not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. They should also stay in the kitchen and never leave cooking food unattended. If they must leave the kitchen, for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove.

Other ways to avoid cooking fires include the following:

  • Fires can start when the heat is too high. When frying food, if the cook sees smoke or the grease starts to boil, turn the burner off.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Clean and clear the area around the stove before turning on the heat.
  • Turn pot handles to the back of the stove so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
  • Move things that can burn away from the stove – items such as dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains.
  • Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire.

THE PAN IS ON FIRE If the pan catches fire, don’t move it. Slide a pan lid or cookie sheet on top of the pan to take the air away and put the fire out. Turn off the heat. Keep the lid on the pan until it cools. Never try to stop a grease or oil fire with water – it will only make the fire bigger.

OVEN, MICROWAVE FIRES If something catches fire in the oven, keep the door closed. Call 9-1-1 so firefighters can make sure the fire didn’t spread to the walls. If a fire occurs in the microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave if you can. Don’t use it until a repairman checks it.

STOP, DROP AND ROLL If a fire occurs and someone’s clothes are on fire, they should stop where they are immediately, drop to the floor, cover their face with their hands and roll over and over to suffocate the flames. Keep doing it until the fire is out.

JUST GET OUT Leave the home and call the fire department from outside. Make sure everyone in the home gets out – fast. Once outside, stay out. Never go back inside a burning building.

MAKE A PLAN 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 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.

Resources for the Hilltop Place Apartment Fire

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Thank you to the generosity of the community to help those impacted by the Hilltop Place Apartment fire in Allouez. As of tonight, Friday, May 24 we have assisted 56 adults and 12 children.  We will continue to contact and work with clients to meet their emergency needs through the weekend.

Here is a list of ways people can help and resources that are available to those impacted:

1. American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin 

If you have been displaced:  Contact our office at 920-468-8535.

If you would like to make a monetary donation:

  • Call 1-800 Red Cross (1-800-733-2797)
  • Go online to: http://www.redcross.org
  • Mail/drop off check to:  2131 Deckner Ave, Green Bay, WI 54302

2. Donations for clients/drop off site

St. Matthews Church at 2589 S. Webster

Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29

1:00pm-3:00p and 6:00pm-8:00pm

For additional information contact Penny Dart at 920-639-6870

3. Donations/Drop off site 

Resource One Realty in DePere at 1740 E. Matthew Dr, De Pere

Call Amanda Thompson at 920-471-3875 for drop off and pick up times.

A Simple Message of Thank You…….

By Lisa Stanchfield, Program Services Specialist

photo TY - no last name

Thursday, May 2 we responded to a fire that displaced 30 people in Fond du Lac.

On Friday, during the day we had about half of those people, adults and kids in our back room until we could work with the family on where we were putting them for the weekend.

We gave the children coloring books to use, I rented some movies, but one of the things they like was drawing on the dry erase board. I found the message that one of the children left on the dry erase board rather touching.

These are the moments I really appreciate working for such a great organization.