Home fires occurances are up in Wyoming communities
November 5, 2020
CASPER — October has been a particularly busy month for the American Red Cross of Wyoming’s Disaster Action Teams (DAT).
Since Oct. 1 DAT teams have responded to 13 house fires across the state. Six fires occurred in Cheyenne, three in Casper, two in Powell, and one each in Buffalo, Lander, Rock River, and Torrington. Many of those fires were caused by improper use of heating inside the home.
Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home and barn fires in Wyoming, which typically rise in throughout the state during the colder months. During the month of October, the Red Cross of Wyoming provided assistance to 35 individuals – nine children and 26 adults with urgent needs like emergency lodging, financial assistance and recovery planning after 13 local home fires.
“Colder temperatures often bring the risk of home heating fires, and we want everyone to stay safe by properly warming their home,” said Gehrig Haberstock, Disaster Program Manager for the Red Cross of Wyoming.
HOW TO HEAT YOUR HOME
A 2020 Red Cross survey showed that more than half of us have used a space heater — which is involved in most fatal home heating fires. Provide at least three feet of space for all heating equipment, and never leave space heaters unattended. Follow these additional tips:
· If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor. Don’t place it on rugs and carpets, or near bedding and drapes; keep away children and pets.
· Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets — never into an extension cord. Turn it off every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
· Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
· Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
· Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.
TWO STEPS TO PREVENT FIRE TRAGEDIES
To help protect your family year-round, test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can escape in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late.
Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).