Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 begins just as 2011 went out ... BUSY!

Red Cross disaster services volunteers provided 9 responses in the closing 2 weeks of 2011. For 2012, at least so far, it looks a lot like more of the same. Fortunately, that includes the continued compassion of those very busy volunteers.

In just the first 4 days of 2012, Disaster Action Teams have deployed to the scene of fires in Chittenden, Caledonia, Orleans and Windham counties. In each instance, the primary interest is to ensure that those affected by these disasters know that a helping hand is there should they need it. In those instances where assistance was requested, our volunteers have also provided support to first responders who battled these blazes.

Winter brings both the cold temperatures and the stark reality that home fires are the single most common disaster across the country. While the cause of each of these recent fires is not known, it is important to note that heating fires are the second leading cause of home fires. Nationally, nearly half of American families use alternative heating sources such as space heaters, fireplaces, or wood/coal stoves to stay warm; a figure that is likely higher in Vermont.

Fire Prevention Tips
  • Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes.
  • When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over as another safety measure.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces professionally inspected and cleaned once a year.

Visit for more information on how to prevent heating fires.