With cold weather comes home fire season


Now that the heating season is here, the home fire season is also here.  Each year 300,000 to 400,000 home structure fires are reported in this country.  More people are actually affected by home fires each year than floods, tornadoes and hurricanes combined.  On an average day, six to seven Americans die in a house fire and two thirds of all these fatalities occur in homes without a working smoke alarm.

The American Red Cross is responding to 10% more fires than only six years ago.  Our goal is to decrease the injuries and deaths by 25%.  We are working towards this goal by raising awareness of fire safety in the home and, with our partners, distributing smoke alarms and educational materials in areas with the most fires.

Common causes of fires are damaged or overloaded electrical systems, chimney fires, malfunctioning heating units, smoking, kitchen accidents and candles.  These can be checked in your home.

Every family can do simple things to prevent fires and have a plan if there should be a fire or other emergency.  Test your smoke alarm and replace the batteries if needed.  Children should practice calling 911 and “stop, drop and roll” maneuver.  Keep your cell phone, wallets, keys and other basic papers where they can be quickly grabbed on the way out.  Find, and discuss with everyone, at least two ways to get out of the house quickly.  Plan a safe place outside where the family can gather in any emergency.

To teach kids fire safety, go to www.redcross.org/monsterguard.

There are apps for various emergencies available at www.redcross.org/mobileapps.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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