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In Northwest Georgia, Red Cross helped 59 residents in first week of 2018 – 50 percent more than in December

 If you shivered in the cold the new year brought, think of the misery of 59 residents burned out of their homes in just the first week – 50 percent more than the 40 helped by the American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia each week in December, on average.  Home fires rose to 17 from the 11 on average in December.

In fact, by January 9th, Red Cross volunteers nationwide had already responded to 3,150 home fires compared to 2013 during the same period in 2017 – almost a 60% increase – and helped 12,500 people with their emergency needs.

Some of this may be attributed to the recent string of dangerously cold days, as colder temperatures are often linked to a rise in home fires. Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months, according to the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration.

“Home fires are devastating for the people involved and, far too often, result in deaths and injuries, said Carla Maton, Disaster Program Manager for the American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia. We’re grateful to our volunteers who bring help and hope around-the-clock to local families. Along with our partners, they’re also helping to save lives through ongoing smoke alarm installations and fire safety education as part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign,” added Maton.

WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO? The Red Cross is asking every household in America to take steps that can help save lives. Find out more here. In addition to preparing your home and family, volunteers are needed in many areas to help install smoke alarms in at-risk communities. People can contact Northwest Georgia’s Red Cross for more information at 706-728-3427.

Everyone can also follow these tips to help prevent a fire in their home:

  • Keep all potential sources of fuel – paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs – at least three feet away from sources of heat.
  • Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended.
  • Place space heaters on a level, hard and nonflammable surface. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. If someone would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.