In Mississippi, there have been six deaths related to home fires within a two-week period and the Mississippi region of the American Red Cross said they are assisting the families. The region has responded to 156 home fires in the last 30 days, serving 574 clients.
The Red Cross meets with clients individually to determine their needs. Mental health and spiritual care Red Cross workers are also available to those affected by fires as well as Red Cross volunteers responding to help those in need.
“We’re deeply saddened for those who experiencing these tragedies,” said Debra Davis, Southwest Mississippi Chapter disaster program manager. “As we continue to help them, we urge everyone to take steps to minimize the risk of a fire occurring in their home.”
Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross has been working to reduce that number through its Home Fire Campaign, which is a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. the campaign was launched in October of 2014, and has already saved many lives and installed hundreds of thousands of smoke alarms in nearly 10,000 cities and towns.
Here in the Mississippi Region, the Red Cross has installed 15,710 smoke alarms.
State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said that space heaters can be extremely dangerous.
“If you have a space heater, be very careful not to put it too close to heaters, a stack of news papers, or any flammable material,” Chaney said. “Improper use of space heaters and the wrong extension cord causes a lot of fires and fire deaths and improper extension cords extended out and connected to a 15 ounce circuit in the wall can kill you. I can give cases and cases of people that have died using extension cords in the state of Mississippi and having no working smoke alarm. A working smoke alarm can save your life. It reduces fire deaths over 50% when people have a working smoke alarm.”
In addition, the Red Cross has provided a list of tips that families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire:
- If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives.
- If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.
- Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
- Practice the fire escape plan. What’s the household’s escape time?