Feb. 23—The American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas has responded to numerous home fires this month amid brutally cold weather.
Red Cross teams have assisted more than 1,000 people following more than 220 fires throughout the Missouri-Arkansas region since Feb. 1, said Chris Harmon, regional disaster officer. Nearly 700 of those residents live in the area covered by Missouri-based Red Cross chapters; the Southern Missouri chapter has helped 136 people since Feb. 1.
Red Cross provides immediate assistance after home fires, including emergency lodging, support for food and clothing and other urgent needs, and help with recovery planning.
To help prevent fires, the Red Cross recommends:
—Providing at least 3 feet of space for all heating equipment.
—Placing space heaters on a level, hard and nonflammable surface..
—Plugging space heater power cords directly into outlets, not extension cords.
—Not using a cooking range or oven to heat your home, and never leaving a fire unattended.
—Testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your fire escape plan until everyone in your home can get out in less than two minutes.